RACP Aotearoa NZ eBulletin May 2019

The New Zealand President's post

He tini roimata e maringi whānui ana, e rū ana ki te whenua katoa. Otirā, kia whitikina te whenua o Aotearoa e ngā hihi o te aroha me te tūmanako.

The abundant tears are shed widely, scattered across the whole land. But now may the rays of love and hope shine upon Aotearoa.

In the seven weeks that have passed since the Christchurch terror attacks, we have had the opportunity to reflect as a nation and as individuals on the impact this tragic event has had upon Aotearoa.

Through these challenging times, I would encourage everyone to look after their own wellbeing and that of our College whānau. Recent months have been a tough time for many; from the Christchurch attacks to the ongoing impact of the industrial action and, during this time our junior doctors have been preparing for the recent written exam and upcoming clinical exams. Please remember that a number of health and wellbeing resources are available to you and that there are dedicated helplines to offer support in times of need.

On a positive note, the election of Dr Curtis Walker (Te Whakatōhea, Ngāti Porou), as Chairperson of the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) is an encouraging sign of the MCNZ’s future focus.  The appointment of Dr Walker, a renal and general physician from Palmerston North, supports the MCNZ’s focus on improving the cultural competence of doctors to deliver culturally safe care, with the aim of addressing the inequities that persist in the health sector.

The MCNZ focus aligns with the College’s Indigenous Strategic Framework, which through the initiatives of the New Zealand and the Māori Health Committees, aims contribute to addressing Māori health inequities, grow the Māori physician workforce, equip and educate the broader NZ physician workforce to improve Māori health and foster a culturally safe and competent College.  As physicians and paediatricians, we must also continually strive to provide culturally competent care for patients and their whānau.

To support our efforts, we will be appointing a Kaitohutohu Ahurea (Cultural Advisor) to work closely with NZ committees and staff to ensure mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) and tikanga (protocols) are incorporated across the diverse work streams and activities of the College. The Kaitohutohu Ahurea will also assist with the ongoing efforts to develop whakawhanaungatanga and manaakitanga (relationships and support) among Māori RACP Fellows and trainees. I would encourage all members who identify as Māori to update their details in MyRACP to record any iwi affiliations.

To ensure that we support the growth of the Māori physician workforce, we are also looking at strengthening our relationship with Te Ohu Rata o Aotearoa (Te ORA) Māori Medical Practitioners Association and would encourage any Māori Fellows or trainees who are not yet members to consider joining this organisation.  I also invite any Māori trainees or Fellows to email me to share your perspective on how we can achieve these initiatives.

Following our 2017 call for action to Make Health Equity the Norm, in 2019 we are taking stock of the coalition government’s progress to make healthy housing, good work and whānau wellbeing the Norm. Please complete the short survey below to inform our work on what you see as making the greatest difference to New Zealanders’ health and wellbeing.

Ngā mihi

Dr Jeff Brown
RACP NZ President

Advocacy survey

MakeItTheNormIn 2017, the RACP called for all parties in the NZ general election to prioritise health equity – to make healthy housing, good work and whānau wellbeing the norm in Aotearoa. We drew on Prime Minister Norman Kirk’s words: “All people want somewhere to live, someone to love, somewhere to work and something to hope for.”

In 2019, we are inviting members to give their views on the housing, work and whānau wellbeing policies of the coalition government: is New Zealand #MakingItTheNorm?

What actions do you think are making the greatest difference to the health and wellbeing of the people you see?

Take our survey to rank policies and initiatives, share your views undertaken by the government in its term to date.

Therapeutic Products Bill

In April the RACP made a submission to the Ministry of Health on the draft Therapeutic Products Bill. The Bill is significant – once passed into law it will replace the Medicines Act 1981. Although is retained from the Medicines Act, there are some changes in terms of what will be covered, such as medical devices being regulated under the Bill; and how medicines are prescribed (including off-label prescribing and personal importation of prescription medicines).

The RACP joined with other health sector groups to call for the Bill to ban direct-to-consumer advertising in New Zealand. The Ministry aims to introduce the Bill to the House before the end of 2019, making the RACP’s next opportunity to comment on the Bill when it goes to Select Committee.

New Zealand Trainees' Day recap

Icebreaker InactiveForty-nine trainees took part in New Zealand Trainees’ Day 2019, which was held in beautiful Queenstown in April. As the RACP event for trainees by trainees, Trainees’ Day offers professional development and community building opportunities. Trainees’ Day has been running for 10 years in Aotearoa with high levels of engagement from trainees and speakers who contribute to the day.

11 Fellows, trainees and other professionals presented 14 plenary, workshop and information sessions.

Highlights of the day included:

  • an impactful keynote address from Dr Simon Rowley on 'Humanity in Medicine'
  • an interactive panel discussion featuring RACP trainees following a 'non-cookie cutter career path'
  • an enlightening session on 'Social Media and Sciencewith Dr Siouxsie Wiles
  • the annual Trainees’ Dinner.

Below are some thoughts trainees shared with us about the day.

My expectations were exceeded as I came away with much more enthusiasm for research and how my passion for advocacy against inequity can be relevant to both my training and my future practice.”
- Advanced Trainee.

Inspiring speakers who were encouraging and approachable and also realistic that I could speak with. Range of 'Big Picture' ideas presented as well as practical and important topics discussed. Interactive.”
- Basic Trainee.

Good discussion and contributions from some promising and brilliant trainees." - Fellow.

To register your interest for Trainees’ Day 2020 email the RACP NZ Communications team.

Trainee Research Awards

The Trainee Research Awards provide a wonderful opportunity for trainees to present their research at a New Zealand event. Trainees selected at the event will have the opportunity to present at  RACP Congress 2020.

Last year’s selected New Zealand representatives presented at the Research and Innovation Showcase at the RACP Congress 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand:

Dr Brian Corley
Topic: Changes in resting energy expenditure with intermittent fasting versus continuous daily restriction - a randomised controlled trial

Dr Aaron Ooi
Topic: Evaluation of a simulation teaching programme for medical students: Does effective learning occur despite resource constraints?

Applications for this year’s Trainee Research Awards are open from Friday, 10 May to Wednesday, 7 August 2019. Please send your abstract submissions or enquiries by email to communications@racp.org.nz


Applications for RACP Foundation Research Awards 2020

Applications for Research funding for 2020 offered through the RACP Foundation will open Wednesday, 1 May 2019. Upwards of 50 awards with a total value of $2.5M are available across the different categories: 

The New Zealand Fellows Research Entry Scholarship worth up to NZ$45,000 and the New Zealand Research Development Scholarship worth up to NZ$20,000 are available to New Zealand Fellows and trainees of the RACP to encourage and support the promotion of research in any medical specialty areas represented by the RACP, its Divisions, Faculties and Chapters.

Most of the other awards are open to Fellows and trainees across Australia and New Zealand. Please refer to the RACP Foundation website for information on specific eligibility requirements for each award.

Do you want to be kept updated about awards? Email the RACP Foundation to sign up for updates.

Medicines Adverse Reactions Committee opportunity

Medsafe is seeking a specialist clinician to join the Medicines Adverse Reactions Committee (MARC).

Join the MARC and improve the health of New Zealanders by contributing to:

  • improving medicines safety
  • pharmacovigilance
  • the regulation of medicines
  • balancing the benefits and risks of harm of medicines.

Appointments to MARC are made by the Minister of Health for a term of three years. For more information and to apply visit the Medsafe websiteApplications close Wednesday, 15 May.

Clinical Research Fellowship 2020

The New Zealand Familial Gastrointestinal Cancer Service is recruiting for a clinical research Fellow position to start in 2020, based at Auckland City Hospital.

Fellowship description:

  • 12 months duration (longer if applicant interested in pursuing an MD or PhD); part-time or flexible working hours available
  • area of research is focused on GI cancer and polyp conditions; clinical component is flexible and can include general gastroenterology depending on applicant’s interests
  • no after-hours or weekend duty
  • funding: research grant, additional remuneration for service provision

Suitable applicants:

  • Basic or Advanced Trainee in medicine
  • no prior research experience required
  • enthusiastic, attention to detail, an inquisitive mind.

For more information or to register your interest contact:

Dr. Maggie Ow MBChB, FRACP, MD
+64 21 424 956

Closing date Monday, 20 May 2019. 

RACP Ethics eLearning Resources

The RACP has developed a suite of eLearning resources available to members covering a range of topics related to ethical behaviour and decision making in a professional context.

Topics covered include:

The learning package is structured to provide a comprehensive overview of both conceptual and applied ethics in a real-world context which will assist members in their daily practice both in the public and private sectors.

The modules include:

  • Introduction to ethics
  • Ethics in professional practice
  • Ethical issues in healthcare: Decision making capacity and consent. Legalities of consent.
  • Continuous engagement with ethics.

Additional resources related to both professional and clinical ethics are provided throughout the learning package and are available through the RACP Curated Collection. In addition to being a valuable reference resource the e-learning module is eligible for CPD credits, with a certificate of completion available.

For any queries on ethics related issues please contact: ethics@racp.edu.au

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