The President's Message – 20 March 2019

Christchurch shootings

I have separately released a President’s statement on the Christchurch shootings.  It is appropriate that such a tragedy be the subject of a stand-alone statement.  The thoughts of the College are with all those impacted by this dreadful event. The statement may be accessed online.

No Computer Based Testing in 2020

I can confirm that the 2020 Divisional Written Examination will be a paper-based examination offered on Monday, 17 February 2020. This message has been communicated to the College Trainee Committee in response to their letter seeking clarification on the 2020 exam.

The College Education Committee is forming a working group to evaluate computer-based testing (CBT) options and appropriate time frames for any introduction of CBT. This Working Group will include trainee representatives.

A minimum of 12 months’ notice will be provided for any move to Computer Based Testing (CBT). A detailed communication plan will be developed by the working group to ensure that trainees and Fellows are provided with all relevant information around the associated processes.

Two new RACP Board members and a new chair of the Governance Committee appointed

The CEO Working Party, under RACP Board delegation, conducted a search for the two vacant RACP Board positions, and the Chair of the Governance Committee position. The CEO Working party recommended three candidates for these roles at the 1 March 2019 Board meeting and these three candidates were endorsed.  The successful candidates are:

  • Rob Stewart AM - RACP appointed Board member (Legal Expertise)
    Rob is a highly experienced legal professional with diverse and extensive board experience, including companies in the medical research, IT, hi-tech manufacturing, NFP, and other fields. His board experience covers a range of issues facing contemporary boards, including the commercialisation of research and Mergers and Acquisitions transactions.

    Rob was Managing Partner of Minter Ellison for 18 years and holds an MBA qualification.  He also ran his own consulting business, advising boards on governance and board role responsibilities, and strategic planning. Rob also has an extensive career in sport at an elite level and sport administration.
  • Monica Schlesinger - RACP appointed Board member (Education / IT Expertise)
    Monica holds extensive boardroom, compliance and consulting experience, including in healthcare, education, cybersecurity, and technology.  Monica holds a Master of Engineering degree, a TAE Cert IV, and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

    Currently Monica serves on five boards and is the Chair of a tertiary Education Institute.  Monica currently serves on the Australian Medical Student’s Association, is a consumer representative on Royal Australian and NZ College of Radiology Safety Quality and Standards Committee (RANZCR SQSC), and is a specialist advisor on the National Collaborative Network for Child Health Informatics (NCNCHI) and the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
  • Rob Ryan - RACP appointed Chair of Governance Committee
    Rob possesses a wealth of governance, compliance, regulatory, and risk experience, based around quality, risk, fraud and insolvency, insurance and money laundering sectors, and is a qualified internal auditor. Rob is or has been involved with a range of associations covering these fields.

    Rob has held a number of board and governance experience roles in NFPs, listed companies, and trusts. He is a former NSW Police Officer, holding ranks up to Detective Superintendent.

    Rob is highly experienced in developing governance frameworks and policies. During his interview, he impressed the working party with his direct and practical approach to this area.


Appointment of interim Dean of the College.

Professor Richard Doherty recently resigned as the Dean of the College, leaving behind a substantial legacy and impressive record of success in the role. As a result of Richard’s departure, the Dean’s role has been refocused to concentrate on critical representational and high-level priorities, while diverting operational matters to a new Directorate of Professional Practice. To properly test these changes, the College decided to appoint an interim Dean of the College to enable further changes to be made as needed, before formally advertising for the permanent Dean role.

I am pleased to announce that Professor Anne Cunningham has been appointed as interim Dean of the College for a three to six-month period. Anne is currently working as the Education Lead Fellow at the College and boasts an impressive resume. Anne will retain the research and project functions within the College of the Dean.

The interim arrangements will allow the College to test the changes and bed them in, before advertising widely for the permanent Dean of the College later in the year.


Release of the BDO report

The Board recently authorised the release of three independent reports commissioned in 2018. These reports covered the 2018 election and the CBT failure in February 2018. Two of these reports have already been released. The third report, by BDO, had its release delayed by legal issues. These issues have now been resolved and as a result, the BDO report has now been released to the RACP membership. The BDO report can be found on the MyRACP site. You will need your MyRACP login to access the report.


Associate Professor Mark Lane
RACP President

Draft Royal Commission Terms of Reference now available for comment

The draft Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability have now been released.

Areas of focus for the Royal Commission include:

  • What governments, institutions and the community should do to prevent, and better protect, people with disability from experiencing violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
  • What governments, institutions and the community should do to encourage reporting and effective responses to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability.
  • What should be done to promote a more inclusive society, which supports the independence of people with disability and their right to live free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

If you would like to provide feedback on the draft Terms of Reference, the public survey is open from Wednesday, 13 March to Thursday, 28 March 2019.

Over $2.4 Million in research funding, grants and Indigenous scholarships awarded

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2019 RACP Foundation Research Awards and RACP Indigenous Health Scholarship Program.

48 Fellows and trainees have been awarded grant funding through the RACP Foundation across different award categories – Career Career Development Fellowships, Research Establishment Fellowships, Research Entry Scholarships, Research Development Scholarships and Travel Grants.

A record seven trainees will be receiving the RACP Indigenous Health Scholarships valued up to $40,000 each to cover their training fees over three/four years.

2020 Divisional Written Examination

The 2020 Divisional Written Examination will be a paper-based examination held on Monday, 17 February 2020. The exam will be based on the knowledge guides which are available on the RACP website

Applications will open Friday, 1 November 2019.

If you have any questions regarding the 2020 Divisional Written Examination contact examinations@racp.edu.au.

New Zealand Therapeutic Products Bill - your input needed

The RACP is preparing a submission to the New Zealand Ministry of Health on the draft Therapeutic Products Bill, which will replace the Medicines Act 1981. While the Bill is more in line with the regulation of medicines and medical devices internationally, it will introduce a range of changes which could affect our members’ practise. These include:

  • Tightening up off-label prescribing – a Special Clinical Needs Supply Authority would be required
  • Medical devices being regulated under the Bill
  • Natural health products being excluded
  • Disallowing personal importation of prescription medicines – people would need a prescription from a health practitioner and a medicines wholesaler would source the medicine on the person’s behalf to be dispensed by a pharmacist
  • Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of prescription medicines remaining permissible under the Bill (New Zealand and the USA are the only two countries to allow this practice).

A summary document highlighting some of the major changes introduced in the Bill is also available. To submit your feedback on the Bill, or to be sent the RACP summary, please email policy@racp.org.nz before Monday, 8 April 2019. 

RACP Congress 2019

Join colleagues from Monday, 6 to Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at the Aotea Centre in Auckland, New Zealand, for RACP Congress 2019. As the premier annual event on the RACP calendar, Congress has a diverse program with topics that span the breadth of the medical industry. Congress surveys have proven that our members return to Congress yearly for the highly informative shared sessions.

With just over six weeks to go, register now to attend the following sessions plus more:

  • The key to unlocking optimal health – The life course paradigm
    Featuring Associate Professor Susan Morton, Sir Mason Durie, Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Ms Susie Ferguson.
    Chair: Dr Jonathan Christiansen
  • Obesity: Rising to the Challenge
    Featuring Dr Robyn Toomath, Ms Leonie Matoe, Mr David Letele and Dr Isabelle Lomax‐ Sawyers. 
    Chair: Professor Boyd Swinburn
  • The first 1000 days – the window of opportunity for long term health
    Featuring Professor Richie Poulton, Dr Matire Harwood and Dr Johan Morreau.
    Chair: Dr Patrick Tuohy
  • Medically unexplained symptoms – master class
    Featuring Dr Chris Kenedi, Ms Megan McEwen and Ms Kristy Bolter.
    Chair: Dr David Beaumont
  • The opioid epidemic – Iatrogenesis on a worldwide scale
    Featuring Associate Professor Adrian Reynolds, Dr Mat Brick, Dr Chris Rumball and Dr Chris Hayes.
    Chair: Associate Professor Adrian Reynolds
  • Integrated care – the future must be about partnerships
    Featuring Dr Peter Jones, Professor Eugene Nelson, Dr Andrew Knight, Ms Leanne Wells and Ms Deborah Letica. 
    Chair: Dr Robert McLean
  • Closing plenary - Physician heal thyself
    Featuring Dr Matt Beaumont, Dr Katie Thorne, Ms Lynne Urquhart, Dr Johanne Egan, Mr Pat Alley and Dr Sam Hazledine. 
    Chair: Dr Alexandra Muthu

Visit the Congress website to register and view the entire program.

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