The President's Message – 24 February

Next week many of our trainees will sit the written examination in Adult Medicine and Paediatrics & Child Health.

I did this exam in 1985, and still remember it clearly. It was the test of what we had learnt over countless hours. Then, as now, it was a major milestone in our medical careers, and we were indebted to the College for the training program, to our supervisors and consultants for their lectures, tutorials, practical teaching and support. We also relied on friends, colleagues, partners and families to help and encourage us.
 
Can I thank all our staff and Fellows and trainees for what they contribute to the solid foundation for physician practice, which we assess in these exams.
 
We wish all trainees well next week. 

The wellbeing of our trainees and Fellows is a priority for the college. Dr Tina Marinelli, the Chair of our Trainees Committee recently wrote to trainees to encourage them to use the support available to them both through the College and other groups. We are working on this in many ways. 

Last week, I attended the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges meeting in Melbourne, and we agreed that this is a concern for all medical specialties. I have also talked with the Doctors Health Service, the Australian Medical Association, and we will be meeting with New South Wales Health. Our ​College ​Council will also discuss this at their meeting in March. 

You may like to look at the Doctors' Health Services website at drs4drs.com.au to find out about the services available and read some of their material on doctors seeking medical help and why we should have our own General Practitioners. We are all working together to understand the stresses, both at work and in our personal lives, which contribute to doctors feeling overwhelmed. We will continue to work on resources and support for you. 

On a different note, some members have recently received emails, again raising issues about the governance of the RACP. The presentation resembles College communications, but it should be noted that genuine College communications only ever come from an @racp.edu.au (or @racp.org.nz) email address.

These emails are not from the College, but from a small group of members concerned about the 2016 elections. I reassure members that the Elections were conducted in a manner entirely consistent with the College Constitution and the law, and I refer you to my statement made in December 2016. I would like to reassure you that:

  • the election result was confirmed at the Annual General Meeting last year
  • the election process was run by Computershare, who have decades of experience in large polls for both public companies and major not-for-profits like us
  • the  election was audited by independent advisers Grant Thornton and you can read their report (PDF 177KB)
  • a Board working party has already investigated the election and found it was correctly conducted 
  • the Board has re-considered the issues and no further enquiry is indicated.

Our College has a committed and capable Board, and we work in partnership with our highly qualified and loyal staff.

I would like to highlight just some of the areas we are working on this year:

  • Our international strategy.
  • Enhancing our advocacy for the health of the community, especially Indigenous Health.
  • Workforce planning.
  • Improved Continuing Professional Development resources.
  • Revalidation.
  • Improving the resources of our Foundation to enable us to support more research.
  • Introducing a robust and fair Selection into Training process.
  • Implementing the changes we need to make in our governance systems in anticipation of the smaller Board you will vote for in 2018.

Let’s all move forward rather than revisiting past issues.

Kind regards,
Dr Catherine Yelland
President, RACP

RACP Foundation supporting RACP ​specialists

Over 50 fellowships, scholarships and grants have been awarded for 2017  to support RACP Fellows and trainees pursuing careers in medical research.

Congratulations to all the recipients of these awards, offered annually through the RACP Foundation.

Applications for 2018 will open in April 2017. View the full list of recipients.

Stem cell researcher and Australian of the Year to present at RACP Congress 

Emeritus Professor Alan Mackay-Sim is an international leader in stem cell research. His dedicated research and international leadership has led to ground breaking advances in the treatment of spinal cord injuries.

He was awarded Australian of the Year 2017 and will be a special guest speaker at a shared session during RACP Congress 2017.

Emeritus Professor Mackay-Sim is a global authority on the human sense of smell and the biology of nasal cells and led the world’s first clinical trial using these cells in spinal cord injury. In 2014, his research helped play a central role in the world’s first successful restoration of mobility in a quadriplegic man – a breakthrough described as the scientific equivalent to the moon landing.  

As the director of the National Centre for Adult Stem Cell Research, Emeritus Professor Mackay-Sim’s research has championed the use of stem cells to understand the biological bases of brain disorders and diseases such as schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease and Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia.

His pioneering work has also led to collaborations with teams of health professionals who are translating his research into clinical practice.

Throughout RACP Congress we will be hosting shared sessions on topics of interest to all specialists. Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, will be a special guest speaker at one of these shared sessions where we will discuss ‘Moral obligations of the physician in contemporary politics’.

Venue: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
Date: Monday, 8 to Wednesday, 10 May 2017
Registration: Visit www.racpcongress.com.au to see program and speaker information and to register.

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

The Trainees’ Day 2017 program features sessions about global health issues. Our diversity will make these discussions lively and inspiring as we bring our various skills and experiences to the table. Sessions will be interactive, you will be challenged and inspired as conversations unfold. 

Program highlights 

  • Effects of technology on health: How does screen time affect you?
    Dr Amanda Silcock
  • Cognitive bias in clinical decision making: A framework for trainees to understand and recognise their own cognitive biases in clinical work
    Professor Jill Klein
  • Physicians as Global Citizens – a trainee’s journey with international organisations and global health
    Dr Suman Majumdar

Venue: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
Date: Sunday, 7 May 2017
Time: 8.55am – 5.20pm
Cost: A $150 per person. Dinner A $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.

Earn CPD credits with new Curated collections

Three new Curated Collections – learning resource guides based on the contributions and peer review of RACP Fellows and other experts – have been released. 

The Curated Collections are on:

Diabetes
The World Health Organisation estimates that the number of people living with diabetes has almost quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults. 

It now causes approximately 1.5 million deaths annually and significant morbidity related to blindness, kidney failure, lower limb amputations, heart attacks, strokes and other long term consequences.  

Prevention through good management, education, lifestyle changes, regular screening and effective treatment are vital in dealing with the disease.

Ethics
As a member of this profession, a physician must recognise responsibility to patients first and foremost, as well as to society, to other health professionals, and to self.

Important behaviours include:

  • providing an ethical role model for other staff
  • respecting the dignity and privacy of patients at all times, including confidentiality of health records
  • maintaining appropriate personal and sexual boundaries with patients at all times
  • carefully explaining examinations or treatments to the patient and seeking informed consent before carrying them out.

Learning
Fellows can engage in a lifelong commitment to reflective learning both through their own learning and by passing on their knowledge to others. 

Each Curated Collection presents key reading, courses, web resources and tools on a specific topic.
Other Curated Collection topics include:

Using Curated Collections to take an in-depth look at specific topics is a CPD activity eligible for MyCPD credits under Category 5: Other Learning Activities (one credit per hour up to 50 credits).

Read the latest journals

Internal Medicine Journal – February 2017 edition

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

Articles include:

  • Caution in interpretation of observational studies
  • Obesity and hypertension in young people 
  • Spinal Infections in older people
  • Natalizumab for multiple sclerosis
  • The not so innocent heart murmur
  • Substance use disorders.

The Editor’s Choice for the month is an original article by Siah Kim; Joshua Lewis; Louise Baur; Petra Macaskill; Jonathan Craig (pages 162–169) – Obesity and hypertension in Australian young people: Results from the Australian Health Survey 2011 to 2012 (PDF 499 KB)

Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health – February 2017 edition

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

  • Decision-making at the borderline of viability: Who should decide and on what basis?
  • Infectious morbidity and resource use in children under two years old at childcare centre
  • Children’s medicine: What do consumers really want to know?
  • Respite needs of families receiving palliative care

Tri-nation Alliance International Medical Symposium 2017 – Friday, 10 March

How do we frame and influence the future of the culture of medicine? Why should we? And who should be responsible?

If these questions interest you and you want to be involved in change and participate in influencing the future, register for the Tri-Nations Alliance International Medical Symposium on Friday, March 10, 2017 in Melbourne. 

The program challenges the norms of the current culture of medicine. World leaders will discuss the change in indigenous healthcare and the indigenous workforce. Questions will be asked about the future of medical systems and practice, and delve into the world of medical education and technology. 

The Tri-Nations Alliance sees the collective experience and leadership of five medical colleges, including the RACP, spanning three nations (Australia, New Zealand and Canada) with a will to drive collaboration, exploration, vision sharing and the continuous review of standards and clinical practice. 

Venue: The Pavilion, Arts Centre Melbourne
Date: Friday, 10 March
Registration: Visit the Tri-Nations Alliance International Medical Symposium website. Online registrations close Wednesday, 1 March, registrations received after this date will require payment on the day.

Join the 2017 Diagnostic Error Qstream Course – part of the RACP Online Professionalism Program

Diagnosis is one of the most difficult cognitive tasks in medicine, it is also the first step in informing clinical management decisions. 

Registrations are now open for the 2017 Diagnostic Error Qstream Course.

This course will: 

  • enhance your understanding of decision making during diagnosis in complex clinical environments
  • increase your understanding of potential system and cognitive factors that can impact accurate diagnostic decision making within clinical practice
  • teach you methods to identify, learn from and reduce diagnostic errors in clinical practice.

This version of the Diagnostic Error Qstream Course has been modified based on participant feedback from the first two courses run in 2016. The revised course includes an emphasis on critical thinking and self-reflection. There will also be greater opportunity for peer-to-peer interaction with other participants.

The RACP Online Professionalism Program is delivered using Qstream, a spaced learning platform developed by Harvard Medical School. Qstream is an interactive and engaging way to learn with peers. Participation has been shown to increase knowledge retention, change on-the-job behaviours and improve patient outcomes.

Participants are emailed case studies, based on real-life clinical scenarios, at spaced intervals. The case studies are designed with the aim of challenging physician thinking and enhancing professional practice.

The course will run from late March to May and takes as little as five minutes a day, two to three times a week to complete via email. 

Register for the 2017 Diagnostic Error Qstream Course online today. Places are limited.

Registrations close Wednesday, 15 March 2017, or earlier if full. 

Registration is open to RACP Fellows and Advanced Trainees.

The RACP Online Professionalism Program is FREE for RACP members and counts towards Continuing Professional Development requirements.

If you have questions about this course or the RACP Online Professionalism Program please email sppp@racp.edu.au

Expressions of Interest

View all Expressions of interest

Support for Rural Specialists in Australia – Apply for CPD grants today

Applications for the Support for Rural Specialists in Australia (SRSA) Funding Round 1 for individual Continuing Professional Development (CPD) grants are now open.

RACP Fellows who live and work in rural and remote Australia are eligible to apply for the grants of up to A $10,000 (up to A $2,000 per training day up to five days) to support participation on CPD activities. The CPD activities must be completed between 17 April 2017 and 28 February 2018.

For detailed information on the individual CPD grants, eligibility criteria and to apply visit the SRSA website.

Applications close Friday, 31 March.

SRSA is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and managed by the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges.

The SRSA program builds on the successful Rural Health Continuing Education Stream One Program.

Feedback on draft Teleradiology Standards request

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR) is seeking feedback on its draft teleradiology standards

The Standards were drafted following an independent review and critique of the existing RANZCR National and International Teleradiology Standards to ensure they reflect current best practice. 

The Standards outline the requirements to provide access to specialist diagnostic services for remote and rural centres which cannot support the presence of a full time diagnostic imaging specialists, providing recommendations on workload, manpower shortage and after-hours specialist diagnostic services.

Any feedback should be submitted directly to RANZCR at standards@ranzcr.edu.au by Friday, 17 March 2017. 

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