Northern Territory - November 2019

A message from the Northern Territory Regional Committee Chair

DrRobertTait-Darwin-NTWelcome to the November edition of the Northern Territory eBulletin.

Minimum Price on Alcohol

It’s been just over a year since the NT Government introduced a minimum price on alcohol, a policy strongly supported by the NT Regional Committee and advocated in the College position statement on alcohol. So far, the outcomes are highly encouraging. Members from across Australia are watching the developments in the NT closely as the RACP continues its campaign for minimum unit pricing on alcohol across the nation.

Following concerted advocacy efforts in Queensland and NSW, a recent media release and accompanying social media noted the first anniversary of the floor price in the NT and discussed the effectiveness of the intervention in reducing alcohol-related harm. After all, “Booze should not be cheaper than water”. The RACP is keen to take the positive outcomes from the NT Government’s alcohol reform package to all states and territories and ask for a national rollout of minimum pricing.

The campaign continues apace: we just called on neighbouring Queensland to introduce a minimum price on alcohol. We ask all NT members to support the College in this important campaign.

RACP NT Members Forum

In lieu of an Annual Scientific Meeting this year, we are having a unique one-day event.  To be held on Friday 6 December, this will include multiple short sessions with something for all Trainees and Fellows.  It will include sessions focusing on new Fellows, early-career Fellows, the judging of the Trainee Research Awards, as well as financial and communication skills and well-being tips to suit Trainees and Fellows alike.  Find out more information and register today.

Opioid Crisis, CPD changes and the SA ASM

I draw your attention to two new Pomegranate Podcasts on the opioid crisis:

Ep51: Getting off the Opioids - Part 1
Ep52: Opioids Regulation and Marketing - Part 2

The Pomegranate Health Podcasts are a great resource.  And the website also has links to podcasts from other clinical organisations around Australia and the world.

If you need assistance with adjusting to the CPD changes effective from this year, our CPD Unit will be pleased to help you.  They can be contacted on 1300 697 227 or by email.

For any of you venturing south in late November, the South Australian Annual Scientific Meeting will be held on Saturday 30 November at the Adelaide Convention Centre.  Keynote speakers are presenting on the opioid crisis and the silicosis epidemic.

As always, if you have any questions about any College-related activities and programs, our Member Support Officer, Lana Rohde, is happy to assist and/or point you in the right direction.  She can be contacted by email or phone +61 8 8465 0971.

It has been a busy 2019!  As this is the final newsletter for the year, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a safe festive season.

Dr Robert Tait MBBCh. FRACP
Chair, NT Regional Committee

NT Regional Committee Members

  • Dr Robert Tait (Chair), Paediatrics – Darwin
  • Dr Cliff van der Oest, AFPHM – Darwin
  • Dr James Cush, Paediatrics – Darwin
  • Dr Jane Davies, Adult Medicine (Infectious Diseases) – Darwin
  • Dr Peter Wallis, Paediatrics – Darwin
  • Dr Keith Edwards, Paediatrics – Darwin
  • Dr Simon Quilty, Adult Medicine – Alice Springs
  • Dr Richard Budd, Adult Medicine (Respiratory Medicine) – Katherine
  • Dr Anna Holwell, Adult Medicine – Alice Springs
  • Dr Megan Brown, Adult Medicine (Nephrology) – Alice Springs
  • Dr Rosie Rock, Trainee (Paediatrics) – Darwin
  • Dr Madeleine Venables, Trainee - Darwin

A message from the NT Trainees’ Committee Co-Chairs

The role of the committee is to represent the interests of trainees from the NT to ensure they feel engaged with and supported by the College. Advocate on behalf of trainees in matters related to training, assessment, supervision and education. Recommend initiatives to support trainees.

Goals achieved by the committee this far:

  • Advocating and providing feedback regarding college learning series for both adult and paediatric trainees.
  • Identifying NT College Learning Series Co-ordinator Dr Kirsty Campbell, who is arranging local physicians to present lectures for the online portal. This also will include increased Indigenous Health content for the curriculum.
  • Advocating for support of trainees including the discouragement of private courses causing undue financial and travel stress.
  • Supporting local events and interstate events via videoconferencing.

Areas of focus for the future:

  • We need a representative from the Central Health Service (Alice Springs). Can be any adult or paediatric trainee with RACP.
  • Increased communication from members, this can be done informally to the above members or formally. The NT Member Support Officer is Lana Rohde

With support,
RACP NT Trainees Committee


The Trainees' Committee members

  • Co-chair: Rosie Rock, Paediatric AT
  • Co-chair: Madelaine Venables, Adult BT
  • Chris Xu, Adult AT
  • Azlan Mohd Hashim, Adult AT
  • Martin Hansen, Adult BT
  • Emma Hack, Adult BT
  • Benjamin Watson, Adult AT


RACP My Work Profile - homepage banner

My Work Profile

Many Government decisions on workforce are based on anecdotal data. As a response to this we are updating our records to assist our future decision making for physician education programs.

Did you know the hours you work, the professional activities you are engaged in and where you work impact the paediatrics and adult medicine workforce?

You’ll find My Work Profile on the payment confirmation page that will take you to your own work profile, or you can access it in MyRACP.

MyRACP supported internet browsers are Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Firefox and Safari.

How does My Work Profile benefit you?

Workforce data will be made available to you and will help:

  • New Fellows decide which geographic area to work in Australia and New Zealand
  • New Fellows choose between private or public practice
  • you understand how your work hours compare with your peers
  • the RACP and stakeholders including government policy-makers make better workforce decisions, based on current data
  • Fellows understand activities they are undertaking; research, administration or clinical.

For more information, please read the My Work Profile FAQs. For details on what data will be collected and how it will be stored, please read the Privacy Statement.

Complete today

Hear what others have to say about My Work Profile


Register now for RACP Congress 2020 
4 to 6 May  l  Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

Dr Catherine Crock Headshot

Balancing medical science with humanity

We are excited to announce the keynote speaker for RACP Congress 2020, Professor Catherine Crock AM.

Professor Crock is not only a doctor at the Royal Children's Hospital; Melbourne, she is a music and theatrical producer, a humanitarian, a mother and a strong advocate for culture change in healthcare.

After identifying the direct correlation between organisational negativity and staff wellbeing and effectiveness Professor Crock founded the Hush Foundation and the Gathering of Kindness events. She is dedicated to building, nurturing and instilling a culture of kindness throughout the healthcare system.

Her two plays “Hear Me” and “Do You Know Me” have been performed in hospitals and aged care settings across Australia raising awareness of patient centred care, communication and patient safety issues and encouraging a shift in the culture and behaviour in healthcare.

Her keynote address Balancing science with humanity: how kindness restores the whole in medicine will be a not-to-be-missed highlight of RACP Congress 2020.

Join your colleagues at RACP Congress 2020, from Monday, 4 to Wednesday, 6 May 2020 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre in Melbourne, Australia.

Visit the Congress website to find out more about the program and to register.

Register now

Join the Northern Territory Trainees' Committee

The Northern Territory Trainees’ Committee seeks enthusiastic and motivated paediatric, adult medicine, rehabilitation, occupational medicine and public health trainees to join the Committee.

Being a representative is not a time-consuming commitment and is very manageable whilst you're preparing for exams. There is also the opportunity to extend your involvement to a cross-College level by being a part of various working groups and committees.

The Committee is responsible for addressing educational and wellbeing issues that affect trainees across the Northern Territory. We organise several annual educational events for trainees and are always looking for new ways to support and assist trainees.

The Committee meets four times per year. No prior committee experience is required and we welcome applicants from all stages of training.

Read the Terms of Reference before applying.

To apply, submit an expression of interest form and your CV to the NT Office.

For further information about the role, email Rosie Rock or Madeleine Venables, our Northern Territory Trainees' Committee Co-Chairs.

Tribute to Dr Barbara Bauert

The following article is reproduced from the AFPHM eBulletin, 15 November 2019

'On behalf of our AFPHM members, the AFPHM Northern Territory members would like to acknowledge the recent passing of our respected member, Dr Barbara Bauert.

Dr Barbara Bauert devoted her working life to public health services and Aboriginal health in the Northern Territory. She commenced her work in NT at the Royal Darwin Hospital in 1984. Transferring to remote health, she became the Senior Medical Officer in the Darwin Rural region. She subsequently went back to work at the RDH, where she continued until recent retirement.

It was in her role as Director of Clinical Training at the hospital that she made a major contribution to medical education and training in the Northern Territory. She was one of the foundation members of the Faculty of Public Health, and did a great deal to support the education and support for medical students, general practice registrars and Advanced Trainees in public health. Barb made an enormous contribution to the pastoral care of medical students in the early years of the NT Medical Program. As Assistant Dean Student Affairs, she was the first port of call for students and staff with concerns about the health and welfare of students. She displayed her deep compassion for, and commitment to, the early student cohorts.

She was particularly focused on training Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as doctors and medical specialists. Her knowledge, understanding and connection with Aboriginal people was highly valued by her colleagues and patients. She was an advocate for and helped establish the first Aboriginal Interpreter Service, and was the local lead for the 'Respecting Patient Choice' to improve end-of-life care.'

Congratulations to NT Fellow Dr Jaquelyne Hughes FRACP: Indigenous Doctor of the Year 2019

We are proud to celebrate our NT Fellow Dr Jaquelyne Hughes who was awarded the Indigenous Doctor of the Year for 2019 at the AIDA Conference in Darwin in early October.  Dr Hughes BMed FRACP PhD is a Torres Strait Islander woman, and Darwin-based clinical researcher at Menzies School of Health Research. Congratulations Dr Hughes!

See the ABC Darwin interview with Dr Hughes, talking the Award and her focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kidney health.

Image 2 - Dr Jacquelyne Hughes  Image 3 - Dr Jacquelyne Hughes_AIDA_Indigenous Doctor of the Year 2019

Territory kidney care

Kidney disease in Australia disproportionally affects remote living Indigenous Australians, who experience end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) six times that of non-Indigenous Australians. Integrated systems of care which focus on prevention and care coordination can slow the progression to ESKD and reduce complications of inter-related illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In the NT, where the Aboriginal population is highly mobile and often access multiple community and hospital-based services, there are significant challenges to the provision of optimal integrated care.

The aim of the Territory Kidney Care (TKC) system development is to design an integrated clinical decision support tool for early CKD identification and management that consolidates patient records from government and non-government, primary and tertiary services, to:

  • close the information gap,
  • support the delivery of targeted, evidence-based care and
  • improve the patient journey.

The design of TKC was informed through extensive research including a review of cost-effective CKD management programs; economic benefits of clinical data registries; and barriers/facilitators to the uptake of technologies. Extensive user engagement and input determined the key system requirements. The TKC clinical support system is intended to facilitate integrated care through early engagement of primary health clinicians to provide targeted and timely care to improve health outcomes and the patient experience. The system provides risk stratification on three levels – targeted individual patient recommendations, advice for cohorts at risk and aggregated reports for quality assurance and service. Critically the system does not change the primary health service user interface, require the adoption of additional technologies or completion of paper-based records.

Image 1 - Territory Kidney Care article - graphic - November 2019 SA E-Bulletin

TKC information Flow

Image 2 - Paul Kamler and Joe Parry - ref article on Territory Kidney Care - November 2019 NT e-BulletinThe TKC V1 system was released into the production environment in April 2019. Over the last several months, targeted NT Renal Services Clinicians have been working with TKC development partners to review and validate the TKC outputs. Further development (TKC V1.1 Release) will; improve the TKC User Interface based on feedback from users, and refine the TKC Inference Engine which, through the application of clinical knowledge-based algorithms, will produce the Individual Patient Synopsis Report. This information will provide the basis for clinical decision support messages from Renal Specialists to Primary Health providers to support integration and early intervention across Primary and Tertiary Care. It is intended that TKC will be deployed across the Territory via a staged rollout as more Health Services choose to join the TKC system.

June Fairness
Project Manager, Menzies School of Health Research

Physician in Focus

Dr Keith N Edwards, MBBS BSc(hons) DCH FRCP(Edin) FRCPCH FRACP

Image 6 - Dr Keith EdwardsI’m a Community Paediatrician now focussing on providing outreach clinics to remote aboriginal communities. What I most like about this work is similar to the challenge of keeping each plate spinning on a bamboo stick, like in the circus. Mostly, each child I see is like a project in themselves, but the underlying challenge and enjoyment is in taking time to explain to parents what the issues are in simple terms and what benefits lie in following a certain path for their child.

More recently, it has been rewarding to work with a variety of support staff including child health nurses, allied health staff and the Starlight Foundation Captains who accompany me and keep waiting children entertained. Teaching junior staff who accompany me is also a joy and I marvel at how clever their brains are compared to mine.

My work usually involves getting up out of bed early each morning to catch a flight on a small plane and to have “how to put on a lifejacket” explained to me for the 10,000nth time. Sometimes there are road trips to remote clinics which involve self-driving and that can be a challenge with the sun in your eyes.

In order to keep doing this work overtime it is important to find time to keep in touch with your partner each day and to make sure that you spend quality time with them when you are not travelling. It is also important to keep up with hobbies and I always travel with my drone to take pictures when the chance arises and also my travel guitar which folds into my suitcase.

A successful trip is characterised by the reality that several children are finding life easier and able to attend school and learn and other children have been connected to essential services they need for ongoing health, whether that be a referral to local support or to the base hospital for essential investigation and treatment.

Trainee in focus

Dr Ben Watson, General Medicine, Katherine Hospital

What is the most rewarding aspect of your role?

Image 7 - Dr Ben Watson

The responsibility of an advanced trainee is daunting at times but also very rewarding. Knowing the role is significant to patients and other clinicians, provides good impetus to be enthusiastic and diligent with the work involved.

What is it about your work that makes you want to get out of bed each morning?

There are always interesting cases and patients with conditions I want to see improve or declare themselves. Every patient and every day bring a different challenge and unique experience.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

Generally, ward rounds in the morning followed by consultations and clinics in the afternoons. Ward rounds provide a good learning experience by observing and being observed by consultants. Clinics and consults are good self-directed learning opportunities.

How do you manage work/life balance?

Here in the NT I find it easier to have a balanced life, the reduced travel time, more realistic expectations and work culture allow a good work/life balance. There are a lot of opportunities for extracurricular activities that I have over-subscribed to at times though. Exercise and local travel have been the best distractions.

Are there any patient success stories that you can share?

A patient recently transferred from community with a small stroke has since reduced his risk by stopping smoking and drinking and has been taking tablets to prevent further strokes. This is after the team took time to describe to him the condition, why it happened and what he could do to improve his situation. He was previously disenfranchised, so this increased communication is significant.

RACP SA Annual Scientific Meeting 2019 - Email banner 580px

SA Annual Scientific Meeting

When: Saturday, 30 November 2019
Time: 8.30am - 3.30pm
Where: Adelaide Convention Centre
Register: Register online today

Following on from the success of last year’s event, the 2019 ASM promises to be as engaging and stimulating as last year. Held under the theme 'Specialists. Together' at the Adelaide Convention Centre, the program has three parts, with something for everyone.

Session one is titled ‘Pain, addiction and death’ with three speakers who will discuss the opioid crisis, brain immune systems contributing to pain, addiction and death, and palliative care.

Session two is the judging of the Trainee Research Awards by our panel:

  • Professor Paul Komesaroff FRACP, President of the RACP Adult Medicine Division
  • Professor Paul Colditz FRACP, President of the RACP Paediatrics and Child Health Division
  • Professor Steve Wesselingh FRACP, Executive Director of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).

Session three is titled ‘Diseases and therapies: old and new’. The four speakers will discuss the history and modern developments of the silicosis epidemic, and latest developments with rheumatoid arthritis, stroke and lymphoma.

Full-day registration is $75 for trainees and $95 for Fellows, with medical students and non-members also welcome. Due to popular demand, half-day registrations are also being offered for the first time this year.

SA ASM Sponsors

Register now

Upcoming events

Supervisor Professional Development Program Workshop 1 – Practical skills for supervisors
Thursday, 21 November 2019
5pm to 8pm
Charles Darwin University, Darwin
Find out more and register today

RACP NT Members’ Forum
Friday, 6 December 2019
3pm to 8pm
Charles Darwin University, Darwin

Hear from a range of speakers and support your Trainee Research Awards participants


3pm Registration and afternoon tea
3.15pm New Fellows Orientation
3.30pm Employment contracts (Dr Dave Chapman, ASMOF NT President)
3.40pm Calgary-Cambridge Communication Basics (Dr Emma Kennedy)
4.10pm How to gain funding (Dr Josh Francis)
4.30pm How to gain additional resources and funding for clinical service development (Associate Professor Nadarajah Kangaharan)
5pm Tea break
5.10pm Doctors' health and wellbeing (Dr Christine Watson)
6pm Trainee Research Awards
7pm Year-end celebration (food and drinks!)

This is a free event for our NT Trainees and Fellows – come to the whole event or just pick the sessions that suit you.

Our speakers include:

  • Dr Josh Francis FRACP
  • Associate Professor Nadarajah Kangaharan FRACP
  • Dr Christine Watson FAChAM

Find out more and register today

SPDP Facilitator Workshop (SA, NT, and WA Fellows)
Thursday, 20 August 2020
Alice Springs
Details will be available closer to the date

How to register your practice for My Health Record
This interactive webinar will assist healthcare provider organisations, including sole practitioners, to register to access My Health Record via the PRODA portal. There will be an opportunity for Q&A during this session.

Tuesday, 20 November 2019
7pm – 8pm AEDT
Register here
More information is available on the My Health Record website.

Recent Events in the NT

NT Top End Health Services Careers Expo

Dr Marty Hansen (BT, Adult Med) and Lana Rohde (Member Support Officer) supported the RACP table at this expo held at the Royal Darwin Hospital on 30 Sept and 1 Oct.  Marty also represented the College giving a talk to junior doctors about the RACP training program.  A large number of other specialist colleges were also represented, presenting to a well-attended event that was appreciated by the junior doctors.

Image 9 - 2019-09-30 RACP stand_Flinders careers expo RDH

AIDA Conference

Lana Rohde also supported the RACP table at the AIDA Conference on 2-3 October in Darwin. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet current college Trainees and Fellows as well as engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander interns and medical students. I was able to assist with answering college related questions and promote the pathways for physician training. Other staff, Fellows and our President Associate Professor Mark Lane also attended AIDA.

Image 10 - 2019-10_AIDA Darwin-RACP stand_Lana Rohde Image 11 - AIDA_RACP staff, Fellows and President at booth

Left to right: Dr Angela Dos Santos, Masita Maher, Dr Jaquelyne Hughes FRACP, Sophie Mouritsen, Patrick Tobin, Samuel Dettmann, Paula Myott, RACP President A/Prof Mark Lane FRACP, A/Prof Tamara Mackean FAFPHM, Dr Dennis Bonney FRACP, Robyn Burley, Director of ELA. SBD

Recent events held at the RACP Adelaide office and via video-conference to the NT include:

My Health Record Information Session

We were joined by Australian Digital Health Agency’s Dr Lalia Tabassam, (a GP) and Country SA PHN Sarah Wiles, who shared valuable information on MHR features, and functionality, privacy and security obligations, as well as how to access further information and support. Those in attendance engaged in open conversation with Dr Tabassam and Sarah and benefitted from receiving answers to questions about their specific circumstances for a better understanding.

Statistics and Evidence-Based Medicine

Presenters Advanced Trainee Dr Anthony Chuang and Dr Philip Clayton FRACP were able to provide trainees with a deeper understanding of statistics in medicine. This full day workshop incorporated the use of multiple-choice questions to cement learning and gave the participants opportunities to network throughout the day.

Advance Trainee Forum and Research Workshop

Attendees heard firsthand from Advanced Trainee Dr Zayna Adamu on flexible training pathways, how to be a good supervisor from Dr Krishnan Varikara FRACP, followed by an excellent research workshop presented by Dr Katy Gibb FRACP and University of Adelaide Research Fellow Clara Pham.

Image 12 - Dr Chuang presenting at Workshop - November 2019 NT e-Bulletin Image 13 - Trainees at the Workshop - November 2019 NT e-Bulletin

Basic Trainees - have you used the College Learning Series online resources?

As part of its Education Renewal Program, the RACP has introduced an online lecture series, the College Learning Series (CLS), that reflects the renewed Basic Training curricula.

The CLS is an interactive online educational resource to support Basic Trainees across Australia and New Zealand. There are over 350 lectures available online, and filters to help you find just what you need. Visit the College Learning Series online (member login required) to access.

Did you know?

Dr David Baulderstone, DPE at Royal Adelaide Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH) is leading the new CLS program for the national Paediatrics DPE group. Initially lectures are being recorded by paediatricians in Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane, with discussions underway in Perth and Melbourne.

In 2020, the CLS will include dedicated First Nations Health lectures for the first time. The NT is working with NZ to develop this topic, and the following lectures are scheduled for recording in the

NT in the coming months:

  • Hepatitis B in Indigenous Australians
  • Skin infections in Indigenous Australians
  • Indigenous nephrology
  • Indigenous rheumatology and lupus
  • Indigenous endocrinology & gestational diabetes

Wellbeing resources

There are a wide range of resources available to you including:

  • From the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons: A podcast on Grappling with burnout, mental health and ‘institutional health’ by ENT Surgeon, Dr Eric Levi.
  • From the NT PHN e-News: New resource to promote mental health and wellbeing in Indigenous communities. This short video, which was released during Mental Health Week, provides information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities about common mental illnesses, staying strong, and seeking help. The video is available on YouTube in nine Aboriginal languages and in Aboriginal English.
  • From Doctors Health SA: A variety of resources including:
    • Crisis Counselling Services
    • Creative Doctors
    • Doctors' Health Blogs
    • Doctors Health TV Books Articles
    • Mindfulness
    • Research on Doctors' Health & Wellbeing
    • Doctors Sharing their Health Stories

Fellows can claim CPD credits by listening to Pomegranate Health Podcasts

marrabinyaEp53: Marrabinya — a hand outstretched

Marrabinya is a Wiradjuri word meaning 'hand outstretched'. It’s the name of a service in the Western New South Wales Primary Health Network which financially supports Indigenous Australians to attend specialist consultations. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples receive specialist medical care 40 per cent less often than non-Indigenous Australians. It’s easy to imagine communities out in the red desert and blame culture clash or the tyranny of distance, but most Indigenous Australians live in cities or regional communities. The Marrabinya staff explain how socioeconomic factors and institutional biases can accumulate to prevent Aboriginal patients from receiving the care they need.

Marrabinya is an exemplary model of principles that RACP has formalised in the Medical Specialist Access Framework. Indigenous leadership, cultural safety, person and family-centred approach and a context-specific approach can all contribute to great gains in the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Guests: Marrabinya Executive Manger Donna Jeffries and chronic care link staff Desley Mason, Kym Lees, Possum Swinton, Sandra Ritchie, Donna Jeffries, Melissa Flannery, Joanne Bugg, Jacob Bloomfield and Gaby Bugg.

Fellows of theRACP can claim CPD credits via MyCPD for listening to this episode and reading the resources below. Subscribe to Pomegranate Health in Apple iTunesSpotify or any Android podcasting app 

Frequently asked questions

What are the opening hours of the SA/NT Office?
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Where is the SA/NT Office located?
Suite 7, Level 2, 257 Melbourne Street, North Adelaide SA 5006

How do I contact the College?
Contact the SA/NT Office via phone +61 8 8465 0970 or email
Contact Member Services via phone 1300 697 227 or email

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