The President's Message – 23 May 2017

Our recent Congress exceeded all expectations –  with outstanding presentations, participative sessions and record numbers of attendees. 

In response to our research about Congress, we presented more sessions of ‘shared interest’ – with topics of general importance to our members and the community. Over 90 per cent of attendees supported this change. In many sessions, there was  standing room only, and discussions were interesting and varied. 

The standouts for me were:

  • Ethical obligations of the 21st century physician: our Opening keynote address, by Professor Ross Upshur from Canada.
  • Professor Brendan Murphy, Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, and a physician, who openly discussed workforce concerns, and other health care challenges.
  • Evolution of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) – putting disability on the map, presented by videolink by Mr John Walsh AM. John is on the Board of the National Disability Insurance Agency, an auditor, and lives with disability, left quadriplegic after a football accident.  
  • Our NDIS panel discussion, which included people with disabilities, a carer, disability workers and our fellows. At this session, we launched our NDIS Guides for Physicians and Paediatricians.
  • Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs’ news-making participation in a panel discussion on the moral obligations of physicians.  
  • Sir Michael Marmot’s inspiring video presentation on how doctors must do more to change the world.
  • Professor Elizabeth Elliot AM, one of our paediatricians, on child health in remote areas and detention centres.

If you missed any of these sessions, videos will soon be available, and I encourage you to register interest now for Congress 2018 to be held in Sydney next May, exploring the topic Disruption for Healthy Futures.

Health of Doctors

This continues to be a priority for our College. We were saddened to hear of the suicide of one of my colleagues from Brisbane, Dr Andrew Bryant. His wife bravely made this issue very public on social media, and I have reassured her that we are actively collating resources and participating with other healthcare organisations to understand the contributing factors better and to respond much more effectively when we, or our colleagues, are unwell.

Annual General Meeting (AGM)

It is important that we clarify some questions raised at our recent AGM regarding the conduct of a ballot into proposed changes to the College Constitution.

There are many technical and specific laws about the conduct of AGMs. After we printed and posted out the Notice of Meeting for the AGM –  a small group of members requested that the College send to all members a statement they had prepared, opposing one of the changes.
A change to the Notice of the Meeting has to be sent in the same way the original notice was sent – i.e. printed and posted and this would have cost at least $30,000. This cost can be recovered from the members who request the change. 

The more practical alternative was to send their communication electronically to the entire membership. We did this free of cost, on three separate occasions, to ensure members were fully informed before voting on the resolution

The resolution did not attract the requisite number of votes required to effect the change, so the provisions regarding the calling of Extraordinary General Meetings will remain unchanged. This is what democracy is about – the board recommends a change, but the members decide on their constitution.
As always, your Board and our College is committed to fair and transparent governance for all, and this result reinforces that members have the ultimate say in the running of the College.

Kind regards,
Dr Catherine Yelland
RACP President

RACP Foundation award and prize recipients announced

A number of prestigious RACP Foundation Fellowship prize recipients were announced during the 15th World Congress on Public Health, International Medicine in Addiction Conference, Convocation Ceremony in May and at RACP Congress 2017.

Interested in the big issues discussed at RACP Congress 2017?
Continue learning with these RACP CPD resources 

Listen to podcasts on:

Take an in-depth look at issues with these learning resource guides:

Complete eLearning resources on:

Claim CPD credits for using RACP resources in your CPD activities in MyCPD.

End-of-life care RACP Online Professional Program course – Register now

This course, open to Fellows and Advanced Trainees will run from late June to August.

Participation takes as little as five minutes a day, two to three times a week.

Find out more

Updated: Quality and safety Curated Collection

This learning resource guide on quality and safety has recently been updated with the latest information available on this important topic.

Continual improvement in a specialists quality and safety skills is essential to maintaining a high standard of patient care. 

New RACP NDIS Guides for Physicians and Paediatricians online now

The RACP NDIS Guides for Physicians and Paediatricians are a comprehensive online resource for RACP members.

Find out more

RACP discussion paper on medical assistance in dying

Feedback is sought from Fellows and trainees in response to a discussion paper on medical assistance in dying developed by the College's Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Death Working Party.

The paper engages with ethical issues and the evidence and covers terminology, historic framing of the issues, data from legalised jurisdictions, the socio-cultural context, issues raised from clinical experience, common ground principles for physicians, and practical impacts. The paper is not in itself intended to be a statement either for, or against, medical assistance in dying, rather its purpose is to help Fellows and trainees provide feedback as the RACP develops its approach.  

Consultation questions are set out in Section 9 of the paper and feedback will be used by the Working Party to draft the RACP position, or positions, on medical assistance in dying.
Contact to request a copy of the discussion paper and to submit your comments. Consultation closes Friday, 7 July 2017.

RACP welcomes government commitment to lifting rebate freeze

The RACP welcomed the Australian Federal Government’s commitment to begin lifting the Medicare rebate freeze announced in the Budget plan released in Tuesday, 9 May.

Medicare rebates for bulk-billed general practitioner visits will be lifted from July this year, with the staged changes to be extended to specialist appointments in 2018.

The change will mean that Medicare Benefits Schedule rebates will again keep pace with inflation and the costs of running a quality medical practice.

The Government’s continued commitment to the Health Care Homes initiative was also announced as part of the Budget.

The Health Care Homes trial is a genuine opportunity to trial an innovative model of care and funding that could potentially deliver important benefits to patients with chronic conditions.

Continued focus on ensuring patients have access to the medicines they need, by lowering the cost of essential medications to support new treatments being made available was also supported by the RACP.

However, a number of punitive measures which may limit welfare access to people suffering alcohol and substance abuse issues were also introduced in the Budget and are disappointing. The RACP has consistently called for increases to currently underfunded drug and alcohol services that support Australians with alcohol and substance abuse issues in their recovery.

Changes to supported university places for Australian permanent residents and New Zealanders are also of concern in terms of the potential impact on the future medical and health workforce.

Read the latest journals

Internal Medicine Journal – May 2017 edition

The May issue of the Internal Medicine Journal is now available on the Wiley Online Library

Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health – May 2017 edition

Access the latest edition of the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health online on the Wiley Online Library.

RACP Obesity Working Party discussion document – Consultation open

The RACP Obesity Working Party has launched a discussion document for consultation with the wider RACP membership.

The consultation closes Wednesday, 7 June 2017.

Find out more

Expressions of interest

View all expressions of interest.

RACP QLD event: Queensland New Fellows' Forum

1pm to 7pm Saturday, 8 July

The program for this free event has been developed around capabilities and skills essential for new and experienced specialists alike, including discussions on communication and risk assessment.

Find out more

RACP NSW event: Medicinal cannabis in New South Wales – Legislation and research

6pm to 8pm Wednesday, 19 July

Hosted by the RACP New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory Committee, presenters at this free seminar will speak on the current legislation around medicinal cannabis in New South Wales. The medicinal cannabis research underway in New South Wales will also be discussed.

Find out more

Upcoming RACP Events

View all events.

Queensland Health: Feedback sought on notification of rheumatic heart disease

The Communicable Diseases Branch of Queensland Health is seeking comment and feedback to assess the suitability and feasibility of including rheumatic heart disease (RHD) as a clinically notifiable condition in Queensland.

Relevant organisations, stakeholders, and persons involved in the diagnosis and management of RHD, are invited to provide feedback on the potential impacts of having RHD as a notifiable condition on their work or practice. 

Email comments and feedback to Epidemiology & Research Unit Medical Director Dr Stephen Lambert at by 5pm Friday, 2 June. 

Career opportunities

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