Northern Territory - August 2021

A message from the Northern Territory Regional Committee Chair

1. Richard Budd

In June, the Northern Territory was affected by the Delta strain of COVID-19, with Darwin and Alice Springs going into a snap lockdown as a direct result of the Tanami Mine outbreak. The COVID-19 plans that have been created and adapted since the start of the pandemic came into play. While there was significant stress during the lockdowns, the Territory and its health service responded remarkably well.

There is no doubt that an early lockdown alongside the escalation of testing capabilities prevented uncontrolled community transmission. However, a significant degree of luck came into play given our low rates of vaccination. It is important now more than ever to support patients expressing vaccine hesitancy. There have been fantastic examples of colleagues in remote communities addressing concerns in their community, resulting in fantastic rates of vaccine uptake. This highlights the essential work we as clinicians have to play in the vaccine role out.

More recently, the Northern Territory Regional Committee has been advocating for clarity around less than fulltime training requirements. The Northern Territory Trainees' Committee, as well as individual trainees in the Northern Territory highlighted a lack of clarity in some aspects of training recognition.

Many of the Committee members are engaging in a pilot of the new RACP Online Community – the ROC. This platform has great potential as a source of information and connectivity for Fellows and trainees within the Northern Territory and nationally.

The Committee has also provided feedback around the formation of the new Rural and Remote Physician Working Group. The Working Group's aim is to formulate and implement RACP policies to encourage improved physician training and workforce in rural and remote Australia.

The RACP is conducting another Conversations with the Board session with members on Wednesday, 18 August from 6pm ACST. This gives you an opportunity to talk directly with the RACP President, as well as the rest of the Board. I encourage you all to register. I hope to see you there.

Dr Richard Budd MBChB MRCP (UK) (Resp Med) FRACP FRCP Edin.
Chair, NT Regional Committee

A message from your Northern Territory Trainees’ Committee Co-Chairs

Dear Northern Territory trainees and broader RACP community,

Welcome to the second RACP Northern Territory eBulletin for 2021. The pandemic continues to take a significant emotional toll on Northern Territory trainees. We would like to start by recognising the continued versatility, tirelessness, and collegial approach of trainees in the face of significant adversity. With easing restrictions, we hope many can make time for some well-earned rest and relaxation and breathe a sigh of relief (through your mask of course).   

The Trainees' Committee has been busy over the past few months. We've explored innovative local training options and focused on improving accreditation recognition of Northern Territory training sites. We have also advocated for improved communication channels with the College, specifically for Basic and Advanced Trainees. We will provide updates on these issues as they progress.

A key issue for us has also been identifying and accessing direct communication options with Northern Territory trainees. It is well-recognised that the Northern Territory setting has a high turnover of trainees, and it can be difficult to maintain lines of communication, especially from one year to the next. We would like to establish an easier way of conveying information, particularly regarding advocacy or training updates, and to share information about upcoming events and opportunities. It is hoped that the new RACP Online Community (a LinkedIn/Facebook lovechild) will assist with these communication challenges once it's rolled out to the whole membership.

The Northern Territory Trainees' Committee aims to represent the opinions and interests of all Northern Territory Trainees. Please contact us if you have any concerns, questions or compliments (it’s possible), particularly in regard to training or exams.

In the Northern Territory, we are fortunate to be supported by an exemplary group of non-medical (and medical) RACP staff who are easily accessible and great advocates for local issues. They can assist us in ensuring matters are escalated efficiently and via appropriate avenues.  

We are also always looking for new members, especially those who will be remaining in the Northern Territory in 2022. Regardless of whether you are a Basic or Advanced Trainee, or which Division, Faculty or Chapter you belong to – please consider joining our Committee. We can guarantee lively discussion, plenty of fun and free food at the very least.

As always, please don’t forget to prioritise your own wellbeing and self-care. During these prolonged periods of uncertainty, rapidly-changing border situations and isolation from family and friends, it's important. More information about services offered through RACP can be found on the RACP wellbeing webpage. It has plenty of resources, including the RACP support program, Converge International, where you can access free, completely confidential support 24/7. You can also call Converge on 1300 687 327.

If COVID-19 permits, we are hoping to host an event for trainees and prospective trainees in September. Full details will be sent to you shortly.

Looking forward to hearing from you,
Hannah and Kristof

hannah Kristof Wing

Dr Hannah Bills and Dr Kristof Wing
Northern Territory Trainees’ Committee Co-Chairs

Local events supported by your Member Support Officer

Hi, I'm Jake Sawyer, your College Member Support Officer. I am covering for Lana Rohde while she takes some time off to become a mum.

I am your primary local contact for trainees with specific questions for the College, or who need assistance with College-related matters such as registration and application approval, website navigation and general College orientation.

I also welcome trainees and Fellows to approach me with any ideas for workshops, webinars, or events that can assist trainees to better prepare for exams. I can help facilitate these ideas to transform them into tangible events. If you do have any ideas for events, please contact me.

Upcoming events

We are busy planning the following events, with details to be confirmed in the coming months:

  • Basic Training Lecture Series | August and September, dates to be confirmed
  • The National New Fellows' Forum | Tuesday, 19 October | Read more below
  • Mid-year Basic Training Orientations | Date to be confirmed
  • Local site visits | Date to be confirmed.

I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible at upcoming events. Please do not hesitate to get in contact with me if there are any College-related matters that I can assist you with.

Supervisor Professional Development Program

In 2017, the College mandated that all education supervisors must complete one Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP) workshop by the end of 2021 and all three by 2022. With the deadline fast approaching, both the NT and SA are well-placed to meet the mandate. For those who are yet to complete a workshop, please enrol in workshop via the SPDP webpage.

We are planning to hold a series of face-to-face workshops later this year. However, this is dependent on COVID-19 restrictions at the time. The workshops may therefore need to be held online instead, via Zoom. Once dates have been confirmed with facilitators, the workshops will be advertised on the SPDP webpageevents webpage and included in the monthly RACP Events Digest, sent to you on the first Wednesday of each month.

Find out more and register

SPDP workshops are facilitated by Fellows who generously volunteer their time. I would like to thank the following people for their time and contribution:

  • Professor Martin Veysey
  • Dr Emma Spencer
  • Dr David Holden
  • Dr Carole Khaw.

Recent events

Basic physician training information session

Flinders University, Northern Territory held a careers' night for medical students and interns to explore their medical career options. Specialist colleges gave presentations and then specialist panels were formed for some further questions and discussions.

I would like to thank the following members for volunteering their time at the evening, where they helped promote the College:

  • Dr Kelum Priyadarshana
  • Dr Divya Sredarann, Northern Territory Trainees’ Committee member
  • Dr Kristof Wing, Northern Territory Trainees' Committee Co-chair
  • Dr Divya Sredarann, Northern Territory Trainees' Committee Co-chair
  • Dr Abbey LeBlanc
  • Dr Peter Morris.

Basic Training exam preparation and panel workshop

On behalf of the South Australian and Northern Territory Trainees' Committees, a Basic Training exam preparation and panel workshop was held via Zoom. Presentations were made by Advanced Trainees; Dr Sam Ellison (Paediatrics & Child Health Medicine) and Dr Cat Wilkes (Adult Medicine), who both reflected on their time as Basic Trainees. They provided great insight on how to study and achieve work-life-balance while doing so. The workshop then split into adult medicine and paediatric and child health panels for specific Divisional Clinical Exam advice. The workshop was well-attended and well-received.

I would like to thank the following people who volunteered their time to make it a successful event:

  • Dr Alyssa Fitzpatrick, South Australian Trainees' Committee Co-chair
  • Dr Hannah Bills, Northern Territory Trainees' Committee Co-chair
  • Dr Alice Rogers, South Australian Trainees' Committee member
  • Dr Sam Ellison
  • Dr Cat Wilkes.
Jake Sawyer

Jake Sawyer
SA/NT Member Support Officer
0488 466 422


The RACP Trainee Research Awards

Applications close Tuesday, 31 August 2021, 5pm AEST

Trainees and New Fellows undertaking post-Fellowship training are invited to submit abstracts for oral presentation at the 2021 RACP Trainee Research Awards. The awards are held annually, with each Australian state/territory and Aotearoa New Zealand selecting one winner from Adult Medicine and one from Paediatric and Child Health. Trainees from all Divisions, Faculties and Chapters are eligible to submit.

The best presenters from each Australian state/territory and from Aotearoa New Zealand are invited to be part of the Research and Innovation stream at the 2022 RACP Congress, with complimentary registration and travel. Abstracts are also published in the Congress supplement of the Internal Medicine Journal or Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health.

For information about application, eligibility, selection criteria and process, the abstract submission guideline, the prize details and a list of past winners please view this webpage. Submit your application by Tuesday, 31 August 2021, 5pm AEST. For queries, email the RACP NSW/ACT Regional Office.

Find out more

The RACP National New Fellows' Forum 2021

Date: Tuesday, 19 October 2021
Time: 7pm – 8.30pm AEDT
Where: Webinar

Final year Advanced Trainees and New Fellows are invited to the RACP National New Fellows' Forum 2021. This online event will be held on Tuesday, 19 October from 7pm to 8.30pm AEDT. You'll hear about events and resources that will support you on your journey through Fellowship.

Topics will include:

  • I'm a New Fellow, what’s next? A step-by-step process for New Fellows, including CPD
  • The things I wish I knew when I was new: Hear from a recent New Fellow about what to expect
  • Medico-legal issues directly relating to New Fellows

You will also enjoy a panel discussion supported by experienced Fellows to help you navigate through the next stage of your career.

Register now

Northern Territory College exams during COVID-19

The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have fortunately not been in the form of outbreaks in Central Australia, however the issues of workforce and training interruption for our remote hospital have been ongoing.

As our training program at Alice Springs Hospital expands and we move towards accreditation as a level two site, the disruptions to trainees have been taken as an opportunity. Out of necessity, we've had six of our trainees in 2020 and 2021 sit the Short and Long Cases for the first time ever from Alice Springs, and all passed, to move into Advanced Training.

Through this experience, the most remote hospital in Australia can now confidently offer Basic Trainees a comprehensive introduction to a substantial proportion of their training, leading up to and including exams. As our hospital becomes increasingly popular with trainees, this has allowed us to offer Basic Trainees up to two years of training here in Alice.

Dr Simon Quilty
Director of Physician Training
Alice Springs Hospital

AS Hospital Caption 1

Pictured: Dr Fabian Chiong and Dr Sajan Thomas (our first local examiners) overseen by lead national examiner, Professor Martin Veysey, with the team who supported the Short Cases in March this year.

Simon Quilty Caption 2

Pictured: Only in Alice Springs Hospital can you expect a delicious slice of DPE home-made chocolate cake in your break between Shorts.

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Opportunities with RACP Foundation

The Neil Hamilton Fairley Medal and the Eric Susman Prize

The prestigious Neil Hamilton Fairley Medal is awarded by the RACP every five years. It acknowledges the outstanding contributions to the field of medicine made by a Fellow or an individual who is not a member of the College. Recent recipients include Professor Alan Mackay-Sim and Professor Roger Reddel. Nominations close Tuesday, 31 August 2021. Details on the selection criteria and nomination process and are available on the website.

Find out more

Nominations for the Eric Susman Prize also close Tuesday, 31 August. This Prize is awarded to a Fellow for the best contribution to the knowledge of internal medicine.

Recipients of these two awards are invited to speak at the RACP Congress.

College Medals and Awards

Don’t miss your opportunity to nominate your colleagues for the annual College Awards acknowledging outstanding contributions and achievements in their respective fields.

Nominations close Tuesday, 14 September 2021 for the following Medals and Awards:

  • The John Sands Medal recognises a Fellow who makes a significant contribution to the welfare of the RACP and its members.
  • The College Medal is aligned to the College motto hominum servire saluti. It is awarded to a Fellow who makes a significant contribution to medical specialist practice, healthcare and/or health of the community through physician activities.
  • International Medal recognises a member who has provided outstanding service in developing countries.
  • Medal for Clinical Service in Rural and Remote Areas recognises a Fellow who has provided outstanding clinical service in rural and remote areas of Australia or Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Mentor of the Year Award recognises a Fellow who has made an outstanding contribution to mentoring or provided a high level of support and guidance throughout training.
  • Trainee of the Year recognises a trainee who has made an outstanding contribution to College, community and trainee activities.

Successful nominees are presented a medal at the RACP Congress and receive full Congress registration, return economy airfares and up to three nights’ accommodation. Full details are available on the RACP Foundation webpage.

Find out more

Gerry Murphy Prize

AFPHM Advanced Trainees are encouraged to submit an abstract for the 2022 Gerry Murphy Prize. Trainees across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand will receive the opportunity to present on public health issues at regional competitions hosted by the AFPHM Regional Committees. The best presenter from each regional event will go on to compete for the Gerry Murphy Prize at the Population Health Congress 2022. Applications close Thursday, 30 September 2021.

Find out more

John Snow Scholarship

The John Snow Scholarship provides opportunities for medical students to increase their appreciation of public health medicine as a medical specialty and potential career path. Medical students currently enrolled in Australian or Aotearoa New Zealand medical schools are encouraged to apply.

Selected representatives from each region across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand will be invited to present at a virtual event hosted by the Faculty in 2022. They will also receive $250 cash and online registration to the Population Health Congress 2022. The overall winner will receive $1,500 cash. Please see the website for further details. Applications close Tuesday, 12 October 2021.

Find out more

Honours, awards and recognition

RACP Trainee of the Year 2021: Dr Davina Buntsma

davina-buntsmaThe RACP Trainee of the Year prize recognises a trainee who has made an outstanding contribution to the College, the community and/or trainee activities. The 2021 recipient is Dr Davina Buntsma, a dual Advanced Trainee in general paediatrics, as well as adolescent and young adult medicine. She has a strong interest in Indigenous health. Dr Buntsma completed her training through the Royal Children’s Hospital, Western Health, the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and Royal Darwin Hospital.

Dr Buntsma is recognised for her significant contribution and impact in supporting and improving education and training as Chair of the College Trainees’ Committee, among other roles at the College. She is motivated by a desire to support junior doctors and believes the College has a powerful responsibility for physician trainee education, wellbeing and leadership development.

Nominations for the RACP Trainee of the Year prize are open now and close on Tuesday, 14 September. Full details on the nomination process are available on the Foundation webpage.

Find out more

New RACP video series highlights physicians in remote Australian communities

Practicing rural and remote medicine offers opportunities, career progression and a lifestyle simply not available in Australia’s big cities. You can watch a fascinating new series of short videos In our Own Words, about the critical role our Fellows and trainees fulfil in providing healthcare to small towns, the regions and remote Australia, via the Specialist Training Program (STP). 

The STP is a funding initiative of the Australian Government Department of Health. There are around 900 STP-funded training positions across Australia, managed by 13 medical colleges. The RACP currently manages around 380 positions. 

With funding from the Commonwealth Department of Health, we’re increasing awareness and understanding of the Program. Our members tell their own stories, what it has meant to them and the communities they serve.  

We will be releasing these to you weekly over the coming months. The videos will be available on the RACP website, where we have created a new mini-site information about the program.

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RACP Member Satisfaction Survey – closing date extended

Your College, your voice. We’re listening

There’s still time to share your thoughts about the College via our Member Satisfaction Survey (MSS).  

Please complete the survey and have your say so we can understand your overall satisfaction with the College and identify areas for improvement. The survey closing date has been extended by two weeks and will now close on Monday, 30 August 2021. The survey should take no longer than 15 minutes. This is your chance to tell us how we’re doing and have your say. 

The survey is being conducted by EY Sweeney, an independent contractor. They will provide aggregated results back to us and any individual comments are not identified as coming from a specific member – your survey responses are anonymous.  

How you can access the survey 

On Tuesday, 27 July, you should have received an email containing the survey link from You should also receive a reminder email from them today, 13 August. If you didn’t receive these emails, contact us. Further information about the survey is available on the RACP website.  

Find out more

Everything you want to know about My Health Record: Q&A with subject matter experts

The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) invites you to informal Q&A sessions on My Health Record. Held every Thursday, the sessions are open to healthcare providers and non-clinical staff working within primary care, hospitals and other health settings. Come along with your questions and concerns and ADHA will attempt to clarify any issues during the session. Please submit questions you would like answered in advance of the session.

Date: Held every Thursday
Time: 12pm - 12.30pm AEST

Register now

Health and wellbeing: How are you?

Studies show that doctors are more hesitant to access support services than the average person due to a fear of appearing weak or incompetent. Did you know the College has a wealth of free resources to support member wellbeing?

The wellbeing webpage has plenty of options to support you, or for you to support a colleague. There are several services that offer 24/7 confidential phone support, strategies for self-care, eLearning resources and podcasts. Doctors Health SA also offers other doctors who provide support.

You can access stories RACP members have shared, outlining their personal mental health journeys, in the hope of reducing the stigma.

Help is available in many ways. Please visit the wellbeing webpage to find out more about the range of support available to you. You are never alone.

Find out more

Pomegranate Health Podcast

Episode 71: Voluntary assisted dying – What have we learned?


In 2017, Victoria was the first state in Australia to pass voluntary assisted legislation and has been followed by Western Australia, Tasmania and now South Australia. Aotearoa New Zealand passed its End-of-life Choice Bill two years ago and it will go live in November. This podcast draws on the experience of some very committed Victorian clinicians who share the lessons they've learned over the last two years about practical implementation of voluntary assisted dying (VAD).

The presenters were recorded at RACP Congress 2021 held in May. Palliative care physician, Dr Danielle Ko, explained how Austin Health has prepared and supported its healthcare staff through this shift in practice. Palliative care physician Dr Greg Mewitt described the challenge of consulting remotely with patients in regional Victoria. Professor Paul Komesaroff reflected on some other points of friction in Victoria’s law as it stands and the practicalities of medical practice. And Professor James Howe talked of his work as a neurologist in a Catholic healthcare institution, and how tensions over assisted dying had been resolved.


  • Dr Danielle Ko FRACGP FAChPM (Clinical Ethics Lead, Austin Health; VAD Review Board, Safercare Victoria)
  • Dr Greg Mewett FRACGP FAChPM DRCOG (Ballarat Rural Health; Grampians Regional Palliative Care Team)
  • Professor Paul Komesaroff FRACP (Alfred Hospital; Monash University)
  • Professor James Howe FRACP (VAD Review Board, Safercare Victoria)
  • Dr George Laking FRACP (Auckland City Hospital; RACP President Aotearoa New Zealand).

Do you want to be among the first to find out about more Pomegranate Health podcasts? Subscribe to email alerts or search for ‘Pomegranate Health’ in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Castbox, or any podcasting app. RACP Fellows can claim CPD credits for listening and learning via MyCPD. For a transcript and further references please visit our webpage

Ethics and interactions with industry: New online learning resource

A new online learning resource on ethics and interactions with industry has been developed to help RACP members conduct and maintain ethical relationships with industry. The resource supplements the RACP’s Guidelines for ethical relationships between health professionals and industry and aims to assist physicians in identifying, assessing and managing conflicts of interest through engaging video scenarios and discussion questions. 

Calling PCHD Advanced Trainees and Fellows: Join the College Learning Series Editorial Group

Each College Learning Series (CLS) lecture must pass clinical review before it is uploaded. To assist with these reviews, we are currently seeking PCHD Advanced Trainees and Fellows. Interested members are invited to email for further information and to apply.

Physician Training Survey results now available

The results of the 2020 Physician Training Survey are now available to RACP members through an interactive reporting dashboard. You can access the dashboard through your MyRACP login.

View the Physician Training Survey 2020 Summary Report for an overview of the key findings for all physician trainees and educators and how they compare to those from 2018.

The survey results indicate that most trainee and educator respondents were satisfied with their overall training experience in 2020 and would recommend their workplace training setting to others. However, it is evident that last year, service provision took priority over education compared to previous years and educational opportunities were reduced. Ongoing issues regarding workload, wellbeing and workplace culture were highlighted once again, with increased rates of burnout, bullying, harassment and discrimination. While some of the concerning findings may be temporary impacts of COVID-19, the results highlight ongoing systemic issues that need to be addressed.

Through the Physician Training Survey, the RACP:

  • supports individuals by providing confidential support to respondents who raised wellbeing concerns through the RACP support program
  • drives improvements in training settings by providing feedback and identifying settings with results that indicate potential concerns and asking the training setting’s executives to respond to the feedback
  • informs systemic change by using results in the development of strategic approaches to improve physician training and the culture of medicine.

We thank all trainees and educators who took part in this important activity.

About the Physician Training Survey

Eligible RACP trainees and their educators were asked to reflect on their training experiences during term three in Australia and quarter four in Aotearoa New Zealand. Twenty-one per cent (n=1675) of trainees and 17 per cent (n=907) of educators responded to the survey. The survey explored topics aligned to the Training Provider Standards. We also sought feedback on the impacts of COVID-19 on training. 

The survey is independently administered by research company ENGINE, ensuring we receive anonymous survey data only. Data is not reported where there are less than five participant responses.

Further details about the Physician Training Survey are provided on the RACP webpage. If you have questions regarding the Physician Training Survey, please email us at

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the opening hours of the SA/NT Regional Office?

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. This is unchanged as staff work from home due to COVID-19 measures.

Where is the SA/NT Regional Office located?

The SA/NT Regional Office is currently closed to members and staff are currently working from home. However, the address is: Suite 7, Level 2, 257 Melbourne Street, North Adelaide SA 5006

What is the contact number for the SA/NT Regional Office?

You can reach our office on 08 8465 0970 or Member Services on 1300 697 227.

Where can I park at the SA/NT Regional Office?

Two-hour street parking is available in Melbourne Street and all-day parking opposite the Old Lion Hotel (fees apply). A reminder that the office is currently closed.

How do I book a meeting?

Although the office is currently closed due to COVID-19, we can assist you with booking virtual meetings. Please email us or call 08 8465 0970.

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