New South Wales/ Australian Capital Territory - November 2020

Adrian LeeI would like to begin by thanking the committee members for their ongoing support and work throughout the year. I appreciate everyone’s involvement and passion for meeting our members’ needs.

As we draw closer to the Modular Clinical Examinations for 2020 – I like to thank all the Directors of Physician Education (DPEs), consultants, for their efforts to support the trainees in this difficult year. Much have been discussed about the difficulties the candidates are facing this year – but no doubt this is not easy for the examiners, consultants and DPEs around the state.

We have all suddenly become more accustomed to the use of video-conferencing platforms for long case practices and perhaps, this is a glimpse into the future practice of medicine. Hopefully all Fellows and Advanced Trainees can continue supporting our Basic Trainees who are sitting the upcoming examinations. In this regard, I wish all the candidates best wishes for the Clinical Exams – and while this year has been more unpredictable and unusual than previous, hopefully your knowledge and art of medicine will still shine through in the virtual platform and bring you closer to the Fellowship completion. 

Members have enjoyed several successful events this year, which have mostly been held online. One of the standouts is the Sustainability in Healthcare event, which covered topics such as the challenges of improving sustainability within the hospital setting and how doctors should be involved. This event was well received, with great interest and engagement from the participants. We are planning some excellent events for 2021 and we look forward to continuing to increase the value and relevance of membership to Fellows and trainees throughout NSW and ACT.

I would like to thank the Committee members for their flexibility and dedication for planning events during these challenging times. The New Fellows' Forum was a great achievement, where we were able to present to New Fellows nationally. The event was well-attended and an invaluable experience for New Fellows across the membership. We also hosted the Trainee Research Awards recently, showcasing the best of the best research projects by NSW/ACT trainees.   

We have also been active in responding to and providing input into a number of policy and position papers such as the NSW Liquor Bill Strategy and the establishment of National Dust Disease Registry. We also played a key role representing NSW physicians’ and paediatricians’ concerns during the COVID telehealth rollout.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that your College is here to support you during what continues to be a difficult time. Please use our external support provider, Converge International if you need help, which is a free and confidential service. Please write to us if you have particular areas of interest or concerns that we can help to address.

Dr Adrian Lee
NSW/ACT Regional Committee Chair

NSW/ACT Trainees' Committee Co-Chairs message

We have been working tirelessly to support trainees during COVID-19 and the areas that matter to you most. Advocating for excellent COVID-19 communication, quality training opportunities, fair assessment processes and transparency with official College policies and how they impact trainees are a key focus for us.

Many of you will be sitting your Divisional Clinical Examination soon. We know how stressful this exam is at the best of times, and the changes to the delivery of the exam only heighten those feelings. Please reach out for support if you need it and let us know if there are any concerns you would like us to raise with the College.

Since our last update, we successfully held an Impact for Influence webinar, which provided you with an opportunity to hear from inspirational colleagues in developing non-clinical tools and techniques throughout your career. For those who missed out, you can watch the event recording.

As 2020 draws to a close, we are reviewing the year and setting priorities for 2021, including innovative and exciting events. We want to hear from you about what really matters. Please email us to let us know what you'd like us to focus on. You can also learn more about the Trainees' Committee, who is representing you.

Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our fellow committee members, particularly the trainees involved with events and individuals who have written into our Facebook posts and email. We wish you a very safe and healthy holiday season with family, friends and look forward to hearing from you in 2021.

Aimee WisemanDavid Martens

Dr Aimee Wiseman and 
Dr David Martens
NSW/ACT Trainees’ Committee Co-Chairs

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RACP Congress 2021, coming to you, wherever you are

The location for RACP Congress 2021 has been unveiled and it is… everywhere. Spread over six cities, two countries and streaming live, it has never been so easy to attend.

Under the theme of Transformation: Adapting for the future, RACP Congress 2021 will explore diverse topics that address ideas of transforming the way we deliver healthcare, how we look after ourselves in a connected age and what we need to know to prepare ourselves and our practice to remain relevant.

Register now

Clinical Excellence Commission – RACP Improvement Science Program

Unique professional development opportunity available to RACP Advanced Trainees and New Fellows

There is a strong focus on technical skills during training for junior doctors, so it is not often that they get the opportunity to develop skills in improving the processes of care that their patients receive.

To help our Advanced Trainees and New Fellows develop these skills, a partnership was formed between the RACP and the Clinical Excellence Commission, the statutory body responsible for quality and safety in NSW. The aim is to teach RACP members the methodology to undertake quality improvement in their workplace.

This twelve-month workplace-based program starts in March 2021. It will guide participants to learn and apply improvement science methodology, to undertake their own local clinical improvement project and enhance the safety and quality of the care provided by their teams.

Commencing with a face-to-face workshop, Advanced Trainees bring will raise a problem that concerns them in the workplace. The workshop helps them refine their proposals into manageable projects and teaches them how to use the tools needed for a quality improvement study. They then return to their workplace, gather an interdisciplinary team, undertake a thorough diagnostic of the problem, generate and test possible solutions, implementing the ones that work. They then measure what the effect is and put strategies in place for the process to be sustained in an ongoing manner.

Benefits of the program include: 

  • applying a proven methodology to improve local care processes
  • learning a contemporary approach to improvement using driver diagrams
  • a deeper understanding of quality and safety, in areas of increasing importance in clinical care and medical management
  • develop valuable clinical leadership skills
  • opportunities to publish and/or present project at national and international forums.

The participants report a high level of satisfaction with the program and some, who are now consultants, have gone on to undertake further projects to enhance the quality of care and experience of their patients.

“This project was a significant milestone in my career as I had interest in allergy and immunology and my clinical practice improvement project was on anaphylaxis. I was able to get into allergy training due to this project and have completed my training. Now I am working as consultant paediatric Allergist and Immunologist in private rooms.” – Testimonial from a past participant 

For further information or to register your interest in being a part of the 2021 cohort, please get in touch today.

Basic Training Orientations 101

As your local Member Support Officer, my role is to provide support and guidance to trainees and Fellows and encourage engagement with your NSW/ACT regional committees. From November to March 2021 I am offering all first-year Basic Trainees one-on-one consultations who would like advice, help or support with our College processes. In this consult I will share the College Basic Training orientation and customise it, so it is fit for purpose and answers all your needs and questions.

If you have any enquiries, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

I look forward to meeting with you soon.

Judy Rangi
RACP NSW/ACT Member Support Officer

NSW/ACT Trainee Research Awards 2020

The NSW/ACT Trainee Research Awards were held on 24 October 2020. This years' event was extremely successful, with many high-quality abstracts received.

The finalists who presented their abstract in an oral presentation were:

  • Dr Lucinda Marks (Paediatric Medicine) Time to positive blood culture in early onset neonatal sepsis: A retrospective clinical study and review of the literature
  • Dr Doug Drak (Paediatric Medicine) Baseline renal function predicts mortality in adolescents commenced on antiretroviral therapy: an analysis of a Zimbabwean HIV cohort
  • Dr Erin Donnelley (Paediatric Medicine) Seasonal population surveillance for severe neurological complications of influenza in Australian children 2008-2018
  • Dr Elie Matar (Adult Medicine) Dynamic network impairments underlie cognitive fluctuations in Lewy body dementia
  • Dr Dhruv Nayyar (Adult Medicine) Cardiac magnetic resonance derived left atrial strain after ST- elevation myocardial infarction: An important prognostic indicator
  • Dr Kat Kott (Adult Medicine) The role of sex in the interaction of cardiac risk factors, early atherosclerosis and global coagulation assays.

Congratulations to the NSW/ACT Regional winners:

  • Dr Elie Matar in Adult Medicine for Dynamic network impairments underlie cognitive fluctuations in Lewy body dementia
  • Dr Lucinda Marks in Paediatric & Child Health for Time to positive blood culture in early onset neonatal sepsis: A retrospective clinical study and review of the literature

Dr Matar and Dr Marks receive the opportunity to present their research at the 2021 RACP Congress in Sydney, including travel, accommodation and complimentary registration. We encourage all trainees to submit their abstract next year to be recognised for their research work.

Event recordings

Despite the challenging times we are in, we recently held several well-received events. We dealt with COVID-19 related topics such as finance and medico-legal. We also covered sustainability in healthcare and how to influence with impact.

If you missed out, you can find the recordings of these recently held events on our past event presentations webpage.

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RACP Indigenous Health Scholarships 2021

The RACP appreciates the value and experience Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Māori doctors can provide to the health sector and communities in treating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Māori health issues. The RACP Indigenous Health Scholarship Program provides funded pathways through physician training. Applications are now invited for 2021 Indigenous Health Scholarships. Hurry, applications close Monday, 30 November 2020.

RACP President's Indigenous Congress Prize

The RACP President's Indigenous Congress Prize is open to medical students, junior medical officers and RACP trainees who identify as Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander or Māori. The selected applicant will receive support to attend the 2021 RACP Congress to gain educational and networking opportunities and exposure to career pathways within the College.

Applications for 2021 are open. Please encourage anyone you know who is eligible to apply before the deadline on Friday, 31 January 2021.

Gerry Murphy Prize Regional Presentations

Support your AFPHM trainees by watching them compete in the 2020 Gerry Murphy Prize regional events for selection to present at the RACP Congress 2021.

Register now for the event in your area:

  • New South Wales: Wednesday, 11 November from 5:30pm to 7:30pm AEDT: Register
  • Australian Capital Territory: Wednesday, 11 November from 5:30pm to 7:30pm AEDT: Register

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Have your say in the 2020 Physician Training Survey

The 2020 Physician Training Survey is your chance to help strengthen RACP training programs and the workplace experiences in the settings in which you work and train. Open until Wednesday, 2 December, with the impacts of COVID-19 on training throughout this year, it’s even more important for us to understand your experience. By completing the survey, you can also enter the prize draw with a chance of winning one of two iPad Pros (256GB, cellular).

The survey is open to all trainees and educators across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. It's run by ENGINE, an independent research provider to ensure that responses are completely anonymous. Look out for an email and SMS from them with your unique survey link. Please check your junk folder if you don’t think you’ve received this link, or email them if you would like it resent.

The more responses we get, the more representative data we have to help inform changes and improvements to physician training programs. This includes improvements for trainee and educator wellbeing. For information about the survey, including confidentiality and the prize draw, please visit the Physician Training Survey webpage

The Physician Training Survey has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) – Concord Repatriation General Hospital of the Sydney Local Health District 2019/ETH12472. If you have any concerns or complaints about the conduct of the research study, you may contact the Executive Officer of the Ethics Committee, at or on +61 2 9767 5622. 

Online learning update

Seeking expressions of interest for the development of an Indigenous genomic healthcare resource

Join a working group to contribute to the development of the Genomic Healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People online learning resource. This resource will cover genetic and genomic healthcare provision for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It will address key clinical aspects as well as historical and cultural contexts.

Find out more

New online course on thalidomide

The new thalidomide online course aims to introduce Australasian medical specialists to thalidomide and thalidomide embryopathy (TE), and their implications for thalidomide survivors today.

By completing this course, you will:

  • develop a background knowledge of thalidomide and TE, the history attached to these and a basic knowledge of the range of birth defects, mechanism of action and current uses
  • understand the range of secondary health problems from age-related deterioration and special considerations for medical investigation and management
  • understand the implications of TE for other health conditions and for healthy living
  • know where to locate further resources and support on TE for patients, healthcare professionals and researchers.

RACP Online Learning resources are free for members and count towards Continuing Professional Development requirements.

My Health Record: On-demand training classes

You are invited to free one-hour sessions aimed at specialists, practice managers and practice nurses who are interested in learning more about My Health Record and how to use it most effectively in routine practice. Run via GoTo webinar platform, these sessions will afford an opportunity for participants to raise questions directly with the instructor and, if time permits, discuss other issues encountered in using My Health Record. These demonstrations will be run on a weekly basis at varying times throughout the day. 

Using a software simulation platform, the instructor will demonstrate how to:

  • access a patient’s My Health Records via conformant software
  • use filters to find documents
  • view documents and overviews
  • enter access codes for patients with protected documents/records
  • upload documents to My Health Record
  • ensure appropriate security and access governance mechanisms are in place.
Clinical Information System Session  Register
Best Practice 36 sessions from
20 October to
10 December
Medical Director
38 sessions from
21 October to
11 December
20 sessions from
19 October to
11 December
19 Sessions from
19 October to 8 December
14 Sessions from
27 October to
10 December

For more information on other session times or for follow-up My Health Record support for your practice, please email the Digital Health Agency.

Ask your doctor for a faster fitness to drive assessment

Written 29 July 2020

The annual trip to the doctor to ensure Fitness to Drive is now simpler and more efficient for patients. Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole says ensuring medical fitness to drive is an important part of the NSW Government's commitment to road safety, and the annual assessment with a GP is a key part of that.

"Drivers who are over 75, people who have certain chronic medical conditions, hold an MC class license or drive a public passenger vehicle; all need regular medical assessments to make sure they are fit to drive," says Mr Toole.

"We know the challenges in the regions, with many people living hours away from their closest doctor, so this is why we've introduced improved online Fitness to Drive forms for doctors to complete."

Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said the simple system means doctors can email or print a copy of the completed medical assessment at any time.

"Safety is always our priority and this online form means drivers have a more efficient way of ensuring their medical fitness to drive," says Mr Constance.

Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said once submitted online, patients would receive instant confirmation from the health professional their report has been securely transmitted to Transport for NSW and their driving record has been updated.

"We want to put the customer at the centre of everything we do, and this decision provides drivers with more choice and convenience," says Mr Dominello.

"The real-time response from Transport for NSW also means customers will no longer need to visit a Service NSW Centre to hand in a paper form saving time, effort and money. A copy of the completed online medical assessment will be securely stored by the GP, specialist or allied health professional for future reference."

Customers will still receive a request letter from Transport for NSW in the mail advising when the assessment is due.

"We are encouraging all patients who require a Fitness to Drive assessment to take the letter to your doctor and ask them to fill out the assessment online," says Mr Dominello.

Casual vacancies available

The NSW/ACT Regional Committee has recently had a committee changeover and moved into the 2020-2022 term. There is a position vacant for a member of Faculties who resides in the ACT. If you are interested in applying, please email your expression of interest form.

If you are interested in applying for trainee positions, there are currently two vacancies within the NSW/ACT Trainee Committee.

RACP Support Program

The RACP Support Program is a fully confidential and independent help line available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is free for Fellows and trainees.

The RACP places the utmost importance on the wellbeing of its members. It can be difficult to balance the pressures of the workplace, interactions with colleagues and personal relationships. If you are having a hard time, we encourage you to contact Converge to organise a free session.

New member benefit: discounted Microsoft Surface devices and accessories

ASI Solutions has created an exclusive portal for our Australian members to purchase Microsoft Surface devices and accessories at group discount pricing. Log in to MYRACP and click through to the ASI portal. You will need to set up an account with ASI Solutions to access the offer. If you have any questions please contact ASI Solutions.

Why Surface?

The business range of Surface devices is uniquely placed to support you in your everyday work and professional learning. Coupled with your choice of the right software and cloud services to meet your unique needs, the beautifully-engineered Surface devices deliver secure access to information and allow deep communication and collaboration wherever you are. 

Please note the RACP is publishing this offer as a service to members. Such publication does not constitute endorsement. 

*Offers only available to current RACP members that are Australian residents. ASI Solutions respects your privacy. Please read their online Privacy Statement

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