The President's Message – 2 December

Some of you may be aware of an article this week in a specialist medical media publication referring to our recent College elections. 

I would like to reassure everyone that the elections were conducted in a manner entirely consistent with the College constitution and the law. 

Independent advisers Grant Thornton confirmed this and you can read their report.

For example, in elections of this type, it is usual for a person such as the CEO to receive running tallies of voting. This happens every year when CEOs and Directors in large companies receive running tallies of votes in advance of resolutions at company annual general meetings.

Our election is run by Computershare, who have specialised for decades in running these types of processes for the largest public companies and major not-for-profits like us.

A small group of Fellows objected to the election process. When they first raised concerns, the Board set up a working party to investigate. Its report found the election had been correctly conducted.

Regrettably, a very small number of people cannot accept this. They continue to paint a misleading picture to journalists to try to argue the issues.

While the negative publicity is distracting, I can assure you, your Board and the vast majority of our members continue to focus on the most important thing – working as specialists together to provide world class healthcare for our patients, and our communities. 

Northern Territory Annual Scientific Meeting
I attended the Northern Territory State Committee Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) on 26 November.

Consumer Engagement was presented by Associate Professor Grant Phelps (President, AMD) and Susan Biggar,  Senior Manager Consumer Partnerships, Victorian Health Issues Centre, and included three Aboriginal people, who challenged us to understand some of the issues they face, with distance, language and separation from family.

Dr Simon Quilty told us about his work at Katherine Hospital, and the reduction in transfers of patients to Darwin since he began work there. We also heard the registrar presentations and congratulate all of them on their work. I am most impressed by the dedication and commitment of our Northern Territory members. 

President's Msg 2 Dec

Right: RACP Trainee Research Awards for Excellence entrants at the ASM, with Professor Paul Colditz, Paediatrics & Child Health Division President-Elect (second from left), Dr Catherine Yelland, RACP President (second from right) and Dr Christine Connors (first on right).

On another topic, Australian physicians should note the recent addition of new items to the Medicare Benefits Schedule for patients of Addiction Medicine and Sexual Health Medicine specialists. 

A copy of the new item descriptors and updated exploratory notes are available on the MBS Online website via the Medicare Benefits Schedule Book Category 1 from page 178. 

Our Fellows have had significant involvement in this process, and I would like to acknowledge each Chapter’s Fellows extensive work in achieving this important goal.

These new items have the potential to support better access to community-based care for each specialty’s patient population.

Dr Catherine Yelland
President, RACP


Medical experts convene at National Summit on Obesity

RACP President, Dr Catherine Yelland recently attended The Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges National Summit on Obesity. In this article she explains the obesity problem that is fast becoming Australia’s most challenging health issue – and it has equal relevance to New Zealand.

The data relating to obesity are deeply concerning. The number of obese and overweight people in Australia has tripled over the last ten years, and is currently estimated at three quarters of all Australians.

In New Zealand almost one in three persons over the age of 15 are classified as obese. Nearly half of all Maori adults are obese. The figure rises to 66 per cent of all Pasifika adults. 

As health professionals, many of us will be aware of the comorbidities associated with obesity; the higher risks of cancer, type two diabetes, heart disease and many other life-threatening illnesses.

The summit, held in Melbourne in November, brought together a diverse range of experts from the clinical and research community, and organisations responsible for public health, disease prevention, educators and town planners.  All specialist medical Colleges were also present.

Six clear goals were developed as a Consensus Statement on Obesity.

  1. Obesity needs to be classified as a chronic disease. 
    This will reduce the stigma associated with the condition, enable early and better access to healthcare and medications, and will heighten the need for action by Governments, health professionals and the community.
  2. Build healthcare professional capability in prevention and management. 
    More educational resources are needed, along with more research into prevention strategies. There should be comprehensive access to multidisciplinary care, nutritional support and if necessary bariatric surgery.
  3. Health professionals must lead by example. 
    We need to reduce access to unhealthy beverages and foods in the our workplaces and healthcare facilities.
  4. Obesity prevention happens pre-conception
    We should lobby for governments to sponsor national initiatives providing obesity prevention education, prior to conception, pregnancy and birth of children.
  5. Lobby for national obesity prevention strategies
    New Zealand currently has a Childhood Obesity Plan.  In Australia we should lobby for a national prevention strategy and action plan. This would cover people’s life course considerations, use of Government regulations to mitigate obesity and encourage lifestyle choices and designing urban environments to encourage healthy lifestyles and exercise.
  6. Regulate and reformulate food for health
    Lobby to implement a `sugar tax’ on sweetened beverages, as well as reducing salts, trans-fatty and saturated fatty acids, sugars and total energy in manufactured foods.

You can join the conversation on this and other important public health issues by registering for RACP Congress 2017, which includes speakers such as Professor Ross Upshur of the RCPSC, Emeritus Professor and Immunologist Nortin M. Hadler from the University of North Carolina, and Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy.  

Meantime, I encourage you to read the detailed consensus statement

We can influence change - last year our New Zealand Fellows succeeded in having sugary beverages banned from District Health Board premises around the country, through grass roots action. We will not be able to meet this major public health challenge if we do not address this issue now. 

MyRACP – A new way to connect with the College

The RACP has launched a new online dashboard which will improve the way we connect with you. MyRACP is easy to use and allows Fellows and trainees to update member information, change communication preferences and monitor and pay invoices.

We encourage you to take a moment to log in and update your personal information and review your communication preferences.

MyRACP represents an evolution in how the College communicates with members. The easy to use dashboard, which will work on your computer, smartphone or tablet, will provide you with greater choice in your College interactions.

The new dashboard allows you to:

  • update your personal details and password
  • select the information you want the College to send to you
  • view your CPD credits and link through to MyCPD
  • view Committee details – if you are a member of a College Committee
  • pay invoices and print receipts.

This is the first step in improving how we connect with you – we will continue to add extra functions in 2017. If you have any questions relating to MyRACP, please contact

RACP submission to Medical Board of Australia revalidation consultation 

The Medical Board of Australia (MBA) consultation with the community and medical profession on a possible revalidation framework for Australian doctors closed on 30 November. It is expected that this framework would require medical practitioners to demonstrate their ongoing fitness for practice in their current scope.

The consultation documents posed a series of 25 questions based on the content of an interim report to the MBA by its Expert Advisory Group on Revalidation. The model proposed in the interim report suggests using a two pronged approach. 

First, current continuing professional development (CPD) programs should be strengthened to include measurement of outcomes and demonstration of actual performance as well as the more traditional educational activities. Second, the report suggests that CPD data and other measures should be used to identify doctors at risk of poor performance and that appropriate remediation be undertaken in any such cases. Perhaps reassuringly, the report also articulates key principles and endorses the view that any future requirements should not be unduly onerous, should be integrated into normal work patterns and should be practical and proportionate.

It is evident from the MBA’s consultation discussion document that there is considerable scope for Colleges to be a central part of any framework, and the RACP has submitted a comprehensive, practical and detailed response to the MBA call for submissions. The internal consultation process has been conducted over the last two months, and the College response incorporates contributions from the Board, College Council, and a wide range of relevant committees as well as from individual Fellows. This response explicitly seeks that central role for the College while emphasising the need for colleges to avoid becoming agents of the Medical Board.

This is an important initiative that will affect the whole profession and the College is committed to working with the MBA in development of a process which supports medical practitioners in a practical, efficient and effective way and ensures that any framework which is adopted fits well in the Australian healthcare environment.

The College’s submission can be accessed ​from the MBA website.

For more information regarding MBA revalidation process please visit the MBA website.

Professor Richard Doherty
Dean, RACP

Important changes to the 2017 MyCPD Framework

The following changes to the 2017 MyCPD Framework have been implemented by the CPD Committee and College Education Committee.

In the interest of simplifying the MyCPD Framework and promoting practice review and improvement activities in preparation for revalidation: 

  • the word ‘Appraisal’ has been replaced with ‘Improvement’ in the ‘Practice Review & Improvement’ category
  • Framework categories have been reordered according to credit weighting, with ‘Practice Review & Improvement’ on top (worth 3 credits per hour)
  • the previous category 3 ‘Self-Assessment Programs’ has been merged into category 2 ‘Assessed Learning’.

To more accurately reflect educational value:

  • the ‘Assessed Learning’ category has been reduced from three credits per hour, to two credits per hour
  • ‘Participation in the RACP Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP)’ has been moved into the ‘Practice Review & Improvement’ category
  • ‘Specialty specific scientific meetings’ at two credits per hour has been removed from the ‘Group Learning Activities’ category.

In response to Fellow feedback:

  • ‘Committee/working group/council involvement’ has been added as an example under the ‘Educational Development, Teaching & Research’ category
  • ‘Regular Practice Review’ and ‘Multi Source Feedback (MSF)’ have been added as examples under the ‘Practice Review & Improvement’ category.

Download the 2017 MyCPD Framework (PDF 64KB).

Please contact the CPD team at if you have any questions.

CPD opportunities from the RACP

The RACP offers a number of CPD opportunities for Fellows.

Tune in to Pomegranate – The RACP podcast

Pomegranate is a free monthly medical podcast created by physicians for physicians. The show is produced by the RACP’s Learning Support Unit with physician input guiding every step of development – from deciding on an episode’s theme to peer review of the show’s final content. Episodes of the 20-minute program, along with all Pomegranate episodes, are available to download or stream on both iTunes or Subscribe on Android.

New episodes of Pomegranate are released on the last Tuesday of every month.

Episodes include:

  • Law at end-of-life
  • Antibiotic resistance – Are we all doomed?
  • Obesity Inside Out
  • Physician, Heal Thyself
  • Mind the (gender) gap

Hear the latest episodes where you like, when you like, for FREE.

RACP Curated Collections – your shortcut to professional resources

Take an in-depth look at specific topics with high quality, peer reviewed learning resources that are RACP Curated Collections.

Resources in RACP Curated Collections include:

  • information on key organisations and websites
  • links to webcasts
  • links to courses
  • tools for practice
  • key journal articles
  • recommended readings.

Each RACP Curated Collection is reviewed by RACP Fellows and others with relevant expertise to ensure they include interesting and accurate resources which represent the breadth of the topic.

RACP Curated Collection topics include:

  • Climate change and health
  • Refugee and immigrant health
  • Diabetes
  • Doctors’ health
  • End-of-life care
  • Leadership and management
  • Broader context of health.

Access RACP Curated Collections.

Go online to complete CPD eligible RACP eLearning courses

RACP, through its eLearning portal, has online courses available, including new courses on:

  • Communication skills
  • Research projects
  • Supervisor Professional Development Program – Work-based Learning and Assessment
  • Telesupervision

Whether you are a rural or overseas Fellow, or you can’t attend a facilitated workshop for whatever reason, eLearning is a convenient CPD option. It allows the flexibility of being able to learn in your own time, at your own setting.

Australia’s Chief Medical Officer to speak at RACP Congress 2017

The challenges of managing the healthcare of a nation and the role of physicians in meeting these challenges will be the focus of the Priscilla Kincaid-Smith Oration at RACP Congress 2017 which will be delivered by Professor Brendan Murphy FRACP, the newly appointed Chief Medical Officer for Australia.

Having originally trained and practised as a nephrologist, Professor Murphy’s distinguished career has evolved to include leadership roles across a range of medical and scientific institutions, culminating in his 2016 appointment as Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of the Department of Health for the Australian Government.

Prior to his appointment Professor Murphy was the Chief Executive Officer of Austin Health in Victoria. Professor Murphy is a Professorial Fellow at Melbourne University, a Fellow of the RACP, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, and Australian Institute of Company Directors. He was formerly CMO and Director of Nephrology at St Vincent’s Health, and sat on the Boards of the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute and the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre. He was also the Independent Chair of Health Services Innovation Tasmania, a former President of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nephrology and former Deputy Chair of Health Workforce Australia.

Read more about Professor Murphy on page 35 of the September/October edition of RACP Quarterly (PDF 4MB).

Visit for more information on the RACP Congress 2017 program and to register.

Unauthorised RACP Congress website – Important message

The College has been made aware of an unauthorised RACP Congress related website offering assistance with accommodation bookings for RACP Congress 2017. 

Please note, this website is not authorised by RACP and should not be used.

Accommodation can be booked through the official RACP Congress website and registration system which are both authorised and created in a secure system. 

To confirm the site you are viewing is the official Congress website the web address will be at the start of the web link followed by /eHome/racp2017/reference to the section of the page you have clicked to view.

All official Congress related information will be made available via the Congress website and all communication for RACP Congress 2017 will only be issued from the email addresses ending in either or our official event partners (Congress Secretariat).

Both College IT systems and our event partners IT systems are secure, and the use of any other website or email address is an opportunistic attempt to target anyone across the healthcare sector.
If you have any further questions, please contact

Trainees’ Day 2017 – Focusing on you, your training journey and your future career

Trainees’ Day 2017 is an important event in the calendar for all trainees and we are working on a program that will focus on you, your questions and issues that will affect your future career and practices.

Trainees’ Day will feature presentations and interactive sessions where you will: 

  • learn about topics that will affect your future practice 
  • gain skills to help shape your future career 
  • meet and interact with trainees from across Australia and New Zealand
  • network with global thinkers and healthcare leaders
  • socialise with peers and forge new professional ties.

"Our diversity will make these discussions lively and inspiring as we bring our various skills and experiences to the table," said Dr Hong Wu, Chair of the Trainees' Day Committee. 

"You're encouraged to join us at Trainees’ Day 2017 and come together as trainees connected through your common goal of completing specialist training and providing our patients with the best care possible."

Venue: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
Date: Sunday, 7 May 2017
Time: 8.55am – 5.20pm
Cost: AU $150 per person. Dinner AU $59 per person (does not include beverages or transfers - cash bar available)
Registration: To register go to the Trainees' Day tab on the RACP Congress 2017 website.

Read the latest journals

Internal Medicine Journal – November 2016 edition

The November issue of the IMJ (IMJ 46:11) is now available on the Wiley Online Library. Articles include:

  • Diabetes in Indigenous Australians
  • Alcohol use disorders
  • Medicinal cannabis and advanced cancer: clinical trials
  • Antibiotic allergy labelling
  • Heart failure after cancer treatment
  • Pharyngoesophageal dysphagia and systemic sclerosis.

The Editor’s Choice for the month is an original article by B.Tran; D.Day; Y.Kanjanapan; E.Kwan; D.Yip; N.Lawrentschuk; I.Davis; A.Azad; S.Wong; M.Rosenthal; P.Gibbs (pages 1291-1296) – Benefit from cytoreductive nephrectomy and the prognostic role of neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma

Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health – November 2016 edition

Articles in the latest edition of the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health include:

  • The story of cystic fibrosis 1965-2015
  • Newborn hearing screening in Queensland 2009-2011: Comparison of hearing screening and diagnostic audiological assessment between term and preterm infants
  • Determinants of developmental progress in pre-schoolers referred for neuro-developmental diagnosis
  • Asthma and sleep disturbance in adolescents and young adults: A cohort study.

Expressions of Interest

Join the Pomegranate Podcast Virtual Editorial Group

The RACP Learning Support Unit (LSU) is seeking to appoint a group of up to twelve Fellows and Advanced Trainees to form a Virtual Editorial Group (VEG) for Pomegranate, the CPD podcast of the RACP.

The LSU receives a large number of suggestions for podcast episodes from various College members, committees, and other RACP stakeholders. The VEG is being established to assist with prioritising themes for production and reviewing audio drafts of upcoming episodes. The VEG will report to the CPD Committee.

The VEG will review suggested themes, discuss their applicability for a physician audience, advise which themes should be prioritised, and listen and comment on draft episodes prior to publication. 

No face-to face meetings will be held. The VEG will ‘meet’ virtually, with correspondence being predominantly via email. The VEG will be contacted by a Project Officer from LSU approximately once per month. 

Anticipated time commitment for the VEG is one hour per month. 

Interested Fellows and Advanced Trainees must submit an EOI form (MSWord 63KB) and their CV together with a brief supporting statement (no more than one page) outlining the following:

  • how your qualifications, experience and interests will contribute to the VEG
  • whether you have had any prior experience in an editorial or content reviewer capacity
  • some podcasts you enjoy listening to, either for professional and/or recreational purposes, and why.

Appointed members will be eligible for CPD credits for their participation in this group (Category 6).

Expressions of Interest close Friday, 23 December 2016. 

For further information, please contact Rebecca Lewis at or on +61 2 8247 6239. 

About Pomegranate

Pomegranate is the CPD podcast of the RACP. Once a month, Pomegranate covers issues of social and ethical significance, clinical excellence or matters of good practise and physician wellbeing. The podcast is produced by the College’s Learning Support Unit in consultation with expert peer reviewers. Past episodes, transcripts and further training resources from the podcast are available at

Policy Revision Working Group, Special Consideration for Assessment Policy, closes 9 December 2016

The College Education Committee (CEC) is seeking to appoint Members (Fellows and trainees) to join its Development Working Group on the Special Consideration for Assessment Policy revision through an expression of interest (EOI) process.

This policy defines the requirements and processes for dealing with requests for special consideration in relation to centrally administered assessments undertaken by RACP trainees (Divisions, Faculties and Chapters in Australia and New Zealand). 

The policy applies to all summative assessments (written and clinical) conducted by the RACP and the trainees undertaking these assessments.

Special consideration issues covered by the policy are: 

  • permanent and/or chronic impairment or disability which affect performance
  • temporary impairments, including acute illness or injury, compassionate grounds and other serious disruptive events
  • religious grounds
  • cultural or other circumstance
  • technical problems during the assessment
  • financial hardship. 

The key responsibilities of the Working Group are to:

  • consider findings of the policy evaluation phase
  • draft a policy based upon the evaluation findings
  • develop implementation and communications plans
  • develop supporting resources for the policy and process.

Interested Fellows and trainees must complete and submit the attached EOI form with a CV. It should include a supporting statement outlining how their knowledge, qualifications, experience and how their interest in policy development will contribute to the objectives of this Working Group. 

The EOI form and CV must be emailed to by Friday, ​16 December 2016.

Successful applicants must be available to attend two full day face-to-face meetings in Sydney. The first meeting has been scheduled to take place in March 2017. 
For further information, please contact Leah Brumer at or +61 2 9256 5471.

The American College of Preventive medicine – current and future trends driving change              

The Current and Future Trends Currently Driving Change within the American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM) event will be presented by Dr Robert Carr, the incoming President of ACPM.

The seminar will explore how the ACPM are currently in transition and expanding their remit.

While in Sydney Dr Carr is exploring mutual interests and common goals between the ACPM and the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine (AFPHM).

Members attending in Sydney are advised the seminar will be followed by a consultation with NSW AFPHM members on Future of the Faculty (6.15pm to 7.30pm).

Date: Thursday, 15 December 2016
Time: 5pm to 6.15pm AEDT
Where: Fairley Room, RACP, Level 9, 52 Phillip Street, Sydney (and by video conference upon request)
Cost:  Free – bookings essential.
RSVP: Thursday, 8 December 2016 to (please specify if video conference is needed).

Numbers are limited, so book early to avoid disappointment.


Academic Integrity in Training Policy and Process – effective from 1 January 2017

The new Academic Integrity in Training Policy (PDF 237KB) and Academic Integrity in Training Process (PDF 171KB) will replace the Academic Honesty and Plagiarism Policy and Process effective 1 January 2017.

The Academic Honesty and Plagiarism Policy and Process only applied to cases of plagiarism, the new Academic Integrity in Training Policy and Process applies to a broader range of academic misconduct, including but not limited to:

  • obtaining unfair advantage
  • distribution of restricted material
  • collaboration in an individual assignment
  • falsification
  • plagiarism
  • misrepresentation.

The new Academic Integrity in Training Policy (PDF 237 KB) applies to all trainees and candidates participating in RACP selection and assessment processes. The Policy defines:

  • academic integrity, academic misconduct and RACP training programs
  • the principles that underpin academic integrity
  • the roles and responsibilities of trainees, Supervisors and training program directors, College committees and College staff.

All RACP members are expected to adhere to the new Academic Integrity in Training Process (PDF 171KB) in cases of suspected academic misconduct. The Process outlines the steps for:

  • identifying a suspected case of academic misconduct
  • gathering and considering information relevant to the alleged incident
  • committee decision making.

For more information contact

RACP inequities in child health online forum

The RACP Policy & Advocacy Unit invites Fellows and trainees with an interest in inequities in child health to take part in an interactive, facilitated online forum. The forum aims to seek College members’ experience, attitudes and opinions on this issue.

Member input through this forum will help to inform the development of the College’s priorities on this issue.

The online forum discussion will run over three days – 7, 8 and 9 February 2017. Registered participants will have an opportunity to log in, at any time that suits them, each day.

If you would like to participate in the forum please register your details at Inequities in Child Health Online Forum website.

Please note: A limited number of participants can be accepted.

New RACP climate change and health position statements released

Climate change is fast becoming one of the most pressing global health issues, but it also represents a significant opportunity to promote public health. The College recently released three new position statements on climate change and health.

Developed by the RACP’s Climate Change and Health Working Party, the evidence-based position statements outline the College’s stance on the health impacts of climate change, the health benefits of taking action to mitigate climate change and the need for an environmentally sustainable healthcare system.

The College’s position has been welcomed by climate and health experts, including Sir Michael Marmot, Immediate Past-President of the World Medical Association and follows on from the RACP’s highly successful Doctors for Climate Action campaign, supported by 69 healthcare organisations worldwide.

Oral health knowledge survey: paediatricians required

Researchers from the Rural Health School at La Trobe University are seeking paediatricians to complete their survey on oral health knowledge and professional practices of paediatricians

The online survey takes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete and all data collected will be kept confidential.

Results may be used to develop oral health training for paediatricians.

The survey is based on the Royal Australasian College of Physicians Multi Topic Survey (oral health) 2013. 

International Medicine in Addiction Conference

The International Medicine in Addiction (IMiA) 2017 conference is a joint initiative of The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP). 

The conference program is structured to provide in-depth perspectives on common clinical presentations by leading clinical academics in the addiction field, with related workshops available each afternoon. The IMiA 2017 program also provides an opportunity to network with colleagues, and actively promote connections between addiction clinicians across the region. This year’s conference has a particular focus on the areas of pain, trauma and current controversies, and promises to leave you with an enriched understanding of these and other current issues. Find out more about the keynote speakers.

To receive the discounted early bird registration rate register by Monday, 12 December 2016 at

A conference dinner will be held on Saturday, 25 March 2017 at Dockside on Cockle Bay Wharf, Darling Harbour, you can confirm your attendance during your registration. 

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