Queensland - May 2019

A message from the Queensland Regional Committee Chair

Associate Professor Nick BuckmasterLast year finished on a high for your Regional Committee with a conjoint meeting of the Committee with the Queensland Trainees’ Committee going exceptionally well. Having the two committees meet up together provided a great mix of new perspectives and experience in discussing issues and planning work for the new year. As a result of the successful evening, the Regional Committee has invited the Trainees’ Committee to join two meetings in 2019.

In November I met with the Queensland Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services, Steven Miles in relation to the ongoing epidemic of syphilis in the north, as well as raising our concerns about access to bariatric surgery for public patients and the factors leading to the increased burden with obesity in our community. I felt that he listened to the issues and I note that he recently announced a new health promotion agency, Health and Wellbeing Queensland (HWQ) and referred to obesity as a focus in his press release.

Members no doubt will have been viewing with alarm the worsening news about the numbers of workers affected by industrial dust diseases in the last few years, most recently with the disease caused by working with reconstructed stone, such as in kitchen benchtops. Members of AFOEM and our respiratory colleagues have been prominent in advocating for adequate governmental responses to what is truly an unfolding tragedy. We can be proud of the work that has been done by our members and College to try to contain this disease as soon as possible.

I want to draw members attention to the Enquiry into Aged Care, end-of-life and palliative care and voluntary assisted dying through the Queensland Parliament. The outcomes of this enquiry may well lead to significant legislative changes in this area. CPAC again has requested member feedback to guide a College response. This is obviously a very controversial area with a range of member opinion.  I want to assure you that we will be careful to reflect this diversity in our response to the Enquiry as well as to any proposed legislation.

Finally, I would like to mention that we will be having our third Queensland Fellows’ and Trainees’ Forum on Saturday 29 June 2019 in Brisbane between 9am and 5pm. We are working on the program for this at present and will start publicising this in coming months, all Queensland Members are encouraged to attend. We will focus on professional issues as this is most likely to be useful to a broad range of members, the program includes, Financial Well-being, Medico Legal issues, Clinical Ethics and Medical Stewardship. The Forum will be preceded by a Supervisor Professional Development Workshop 1 in the morning.  Please visit the Forum webpage to register for this event which has continued to grow in popularity. 

Associate Professor Nick Buckmaster FRACP, FACEM
Chair, Queensland Regional Committee

A message from your Queensland Trainees’ Committee Co-Chair

Dr Lucy MorganHi, my name is Lucy and I am a Basic Trainee Paediatric Registrar at Queensland Children’s Hospital (QCH). I would like to introduce myself as I have recently been selected as the new Co-Chair Paediatrics for the Queensland Trainees Committee. I have worked at QCH for four years and have worked at a variety of other sites including Logan Hospital, Redcliffe Hospital and the Mater Mothers Brisbane Hospital. My personal goals as Co-Chair are to make sure Paediatric issues are adequately represented (as we are a growing entity) and to act as a strong advocate for Junior Doctor well-being.

I am very excited to announce that we currently have a full Queensland Trainees’ Committee, across various sites in Queensland. We have a busy year ahead of us and are already working on a number of endeavours including increasing communication across all regions in Queensland, providing access to Committee members in all training sites, ongoing connection with Medical Schools and promoting the Trainee Research awards (just to name a few). Abstracts for the QLD Trainee Research Awards and Jameson Investigator Award for research related to Indigenous Health Issues open 1 July 2019 and close 30 August 2019.  The presentation evening for shortlisted candidates will be held on Wednesday 13 November 2019, 6pm to 9pm at the RACP Brisbane Office.  There will be video conference facilities for those regionally based.

We are all approachable and interested in hearing any ideas, concerns or positive feedback.

Dr Lucy Morgan, Paediatric Registrar
Co-Chair Queensland Trainees Committee

Upcoming Events

  • Queensland Fellows’ and Trainees’ Forum - Saturday, 29 June 2019: Preceded by an SPDP 1 Workshop. To register please visit the event webpage and keep an eye out for the invitations and promotion.

  • RACP QLD Trainee Research awards and Jameson Investigator Award for research related to Indigenous Health Issues. Abstracts open Monday, 1 July 2019 and close Saturday, 31 August 2019. The presentation evening for shortlisted candidates will be held on Wednesday, 13 November 2019 at 6pm to 9pm at the RACP Brisbane Office.There will be video conference facilities for those regionally based.Submissions and enquiries to racpqld@racp.edu.au

More financial education workshops throughout 2019 booked, these have been developed to support members through all stages of their career, from Basic Training to retirement.

  • Issues to consider when joining or forming a Specialist Group Practice: Saturday, 25 May 2019 at 9am to 4pm: Register now
  • Reducing financial stress as a new or staff specialist: Saturday, 3 August 2019 at 9am to 12:30pm. Register now
  • Optimising your existing practice and positioning yourself for succession: Saturday, 19 October 2019 at 9am to 2pm. Register now
  • Supervisor Professional Development Program Workshops (SPDP): Online workshops please visit eLearning to register

RACP QLD William Buck financial education workshops

Physicians are probably not very good with numbers, at least I am one of them. That was one of the reasons I didn’t entertain the thought of pursuing engineering or accounting, being numerically challenged.

Accountants and those in finance, on the other hand, seem to have a profound affinity for digits… like mathematicians. I remember relying heavily on the ‘miscellaneous’ allocations to make the books add up when I last took that course. Accountants, on the other hand will investigate with a forensic intrigue such foolish short-cuts and within seconds figure out the shoddy book-keeping done by medicos.

William Buck Financial Education Workshops

Pictured: Paul Copeland of William Buck presents to RACP members in the RACP QLD Regional Office Board Room.

That’s why, when the RACP Queensland Regional Office organised a free workshop to help us hapless maths misfits get some basic coaching on the financial disciplines one needs to muster to ensure a lifetime's income is not wasted down the drain, I was keen to join.

I was not disappointed… well, I guess I was a little bit with myself in the end, but not with the workshop. All the years of studying and practising medicine had somehow inflated my virtue of altruism so much that I neglected some basic financial responsibilities towards myself and my family, apart from paying bills and taxes. But there is so much more than bills and taxes, and that is what the workshop was about.

The workshop was held at the RACP QLD Office, which itself is a very nice place lending a sense of familiarity, like a school classroom. It was there on a fine evening, that I met with colleagues and peers, all eager like myself to learn new life-skills (financially). The presenters were experts in their own fields, an accountant, a financial advisor and a property expert. They went over a wide array of topics, ranging from investment structures, estate planning, insurance, etc. The feedback from the audience, formally collected and stratified was overwhelmingly positive. 95 per cent of the audience felt that the event was valuable and that they had benefited from it. I didn’t ask if the other five per cent had accounting or finance as an undergraduate degree, but that is plausible. The speakers also received high ratings, and they did manage to captivate the audience despite demonstrating lots of numbers and charts.

In the end, I felt that this is something I was missing since medical school, as all the formal training I had received was focused on caring for others. However, financial discipline is equally important in the long run, especially when complex work-arrangements are involved. Having experts provide guidance is needed, just as physicians advise others on health matters. Having robust financial structures, with adequate insurance and estate planning, protected group practices or partnership agreements… all help with minimising one’s financial risk throughout a highly scrutinized career. And once one has all these elements protectively structured through a variety of legal and financial means, it leaves the physician to do what they do best… look after patients without distraction and doubt.

The RACP QLD Office will be running more Financial Education Workshops throughout 2019, check out the Upcoming Events in this bulletin. 

Paul Copeland of William Buck and Dr Fahid Hashem

Pictured: Paul Copeland of William Buck and Dr Fahid Hashem, FRACP, Queensland Regional Committee Member.

Dr Fahid Hashem, FRACP 
Queensland Regional Committee Member 

Acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease in Queensland

Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is 100 per cent preventable. It results when permanent damage to the heart valves develops after usually repeated episodes of acute rheumatic fever (ARF), an autoimmune reaction to an untreated Group A Streptococcus (GAS) infection. Heart failure, atrial fibrillation and stroke are common complications of RHD, associated with significant premature morbidity and mortality. Like HIV/AIDS, the GAS/ARF/RHD cascade is another example of infection becoming a chronic condition.

In Australia, these diseases primarily affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the north of the country (including Queensland) with some of the highest documented rates in the world. The rates may be even higher as there is likely to be under-diagnosis of ARF (notoriously difficult requiring a constellation of clinical criteria to be fulfilled) and under-reporting as it is a clinically notifiable disease in Queensland.

However, an audit of hospital records by the Queensland RHD Register in 2015-2016 shows that areas outside north Queensland still have cases. While the issue occurs in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples due to health and social disparities, health care providers should remember that these diseases also occur in other socially disadvantaged populations notably Pacific Islanders, Māoris and refugees/migrants.

Environmental settings with high incidence of GAS exposure are associated with socioeconomic deprivation such as overcrowding and poorly functioning health hardware to allow good hygiene. Combining poor carer health literacy (ARF mainly affects children aged five to fifteen years) with a lack of access to appropriate health care for treatment of sore throats and skin sores can set the stage for ARF. This would then require long acting benzathine penicillin injections every 21-28 days (not monthly) for many years to prevent RHD. If these injections are not given at the appropriate intervals, then cases are put at risk of another GAS infection, episode of ARF and increasing likelihood of RHD.

RHD also become notifiable in Queensland in September 2018, so those performing echocardiograms diagnosing this condition now need to complete the notification form available on the internet and send to their public health unit.

These diseases are a quintessential marker of the poverty and inequity present in this country. In Queensland, all primary health care providers, paediatricians, cardiologists, general medicine, infectious disease and public health specialists need to work together to prevent ARF and RHD in Queensland.

Acute rheumatic fever

“Working together in Mt Isa: Louise Axford-Haines (nurse, Queensland RHD Register), Dr Rob Justo (paediatric cardiologist, Children’s Hospital Queensland), Dr Vicki Slinko (public health physician, RHD Register), Georgia Rendell (cardiac nurse, Mount Isa Hospital), Tanya Morris (Regional Coordinator, North West, CheckUP
Dr Vicki Slinko, FAFPHM

Rheumatology Trainee day

The Brisbane RACP office very kindly hosted the QLD Rheumatology Trainee Day on 2 March 2019. The day was well attended by current trainees. Speakers including Dr Susan Perel (pictured) presented on core topics for the trainees and the feedback was very high for the sessions. The trainees have two days a year to meet face to face from all over QLD which is an excellent opportunity to network and get to know each other. Thank you to Dr’s Susan Perel, Rebecca James, Amanda Reilly, Peter Landsberg, Duncan Lambie, James Martin and Laurel Young for generously donating their time to the trainees.

Rheumatology Trainee day

Pictured: Dr Susan Perel presenting to trainees within the board room of the RACP QLD board room. 

Dr Ashleigh Hennessey, FRACP
Director of Clinical Training
Australian Rheumatology Association (QLD)

Notifiable Dust Lung Disease Register

Amendments to the Public Health Act 2005 which will establish a Notifiable Dust Lung Disease Register were passed through the Queensland Parliament on 3 April 2019. The new provisions are expected to start later this year, after supporting Regulations have been made by the Governor in Council. For further information,  please see the Health and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 and read the support material.

University of Queensland Careers Event involving RACP

The UQ event offered a great platform for the college to introduce itself to the doctors of tomorrow. We spoke mainly to final year students about why we had elected to undertake physician training and provide an overview of how the pathway works. The students who attended were grateful at the chance to engage with us given that in the past surgical and GP career paths were more well represented at prior campus events. The attendees also benefited by hearing from Dr Claire Ellender (a Respiratory Physician from the PA Hospital) who gave one of the lectures. We look forward to further activities with both the school of medicine and UQMS (the student society) at future events throughout 2019. 

University of Queensland Careers Event 

Dr Benignus Logan at the RACP careers table with Dr Gauri Gogna Trainee Representative AChPM Committee and Dr Claire Ellender FRACP, Respiratory Physician. 

Dr Benignus Logan Adult Medicine Basic Trainee
Queensland Trainees Committee Member

Fellow in focus: Associate Professor Cameron Bennett, FRACP.

Focus on Associate Professor Cameron BennettAssociate Professor Cameron Bennett joined the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) as an intern in 1986. He is a Practicing Physician at the RBWH and started physician training in 1991 after completing a Masters in Bio-Medical Engineering at the UNSW. Cam decided on physician training as he enjoyed ‘problem solving’, his knowledge in engineering has contributed to an interest and passion in changing processes to benefit patient outcomes, many of these systems have been widely adopted.

An extensive career at RBWH has included various roles within medicine, including being appointed as the first Chief Medical Registrar at RBWH, which has been a permanent position for over 25 years. Chair of the RBWH Medical Staff Association, Co-Chair of the State-wide General Medicine Clinical Network which is a multidisciplinary group responsible for the strategic direction and delivery of general medicine services across the care continuum in Queensland. Involvement in the running and implementation of Medical Assessment and Planning units since the 1990s. He also chaired the implementation of the Open Disclosure standard in Queensland and is currently running clinics in the community for clients with complex needs.

Cam has maintained his involvement with the College; at a local level supervising registrars for over 25 years, a previous member, Treasurer Deputy Chair and Chair of the RACP Queensland Regional Committee including supporting the purchase of the current RACP QLD premises in 2004, an RACP National Examiner for the past decade having recently sat the written exam for the third time as a Fellow guaranteeing the relevance and quality of the exam questions.

Cam is on the RBWH Alumni Committee as he has an interest in the history of the hospital which celebrated its 150th Birthday in 2017. Cam would recommend anyone who worked or trained at the RBWH to join the Alumni and stay involved with upcoming events and ways to connect with your current and past colleagues. Please call +61 7 3646 3547 for more details.  


Applications for RACP Foundation Research Awards 2020

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

Most 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.

Trainee Research Awards

The Trainee Research Awards provide a wonderful opportunity to trainees to do an oral presentation of their research at a regional event. Trainees selected at each regional event will have the opportunity to present at the 2020 RACP Congress.

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

Dr Nathan Klose
Topic: Aetiology and differentiating characteristics of primary versus secondary thrombocytosis – the clot thickens

Dr Valentina-Maria Milosescu
Topic: Traumatic lumbar punctures in children and contributory factors: A 10-year retrospective study

Dr Yassmin Musthaffa (2017)
Topic: Changes to Thyroid function (TF) following Growth Hormone (GH) Therapy in children with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS)

Applications for this year’s Trainee Research Awards are open from Monday 1 July to Friday 30 August 2019. Please send your abstract submissions or inquiries by email to RACPQLD@racp.edu.au

Jameson Investigator Award

  • Abstracts open: Monday,1 July 2019
  • Abstracts close: Friday, 30 August 2019
  • Presentation Evening: Wednesday, 13 November 2019 - RACP Qld Office

The Jameson Investigator Award for Research Related to Indigenous Health Issues is awarded to the best oral research presentation made at the Queensland Regional Committee Research Presentation evening. Presentations are able to be made in person or via video conference.

This award is due to the generosity of a bequest from Mrs Elsie Jameson.
Terms & Conditions (Prizes) 
Abstract Guidelines 

Who is eligible?
The award is open to RACP trainees, or Fellows who have been admitted to Fellowship within three years at the time of the oral presentation, and who are registered as a Queensland member.

What is the prize?
The recipient of the Jameson Investigator Award for Research Related to Indigenous Health Issues will receive $450 and a Certificate.

How do I apply?

  1.  Read the Terms & Conditions (Prizes)
  2.  Submit your abstract following the provided guidelines via email to the Queensland Regional Office at RACPQLD@racp.edu.au

What is the selection process?

  1. Abstracts submitted for this award will be reviewed by members of the College and those of sufficiently high standard will be selected for an oral presentation (approximately 12 minutes plus 3 minutes question time)
  2. Presentations will be judged by an Award Review Panel
  3. Trainees must present work in which they have made a significant contribution to the concept and execution. Originality is important but not an overriding consideration
  4. The presentations will be judged on the following criteria:
  • Excellence of hypothesis
  • Methodology
  • Scientific merit
  • Potential impact/outcomes (community, science)
  • Oral presentation
  • Relevance to Indigenous Health
  1. If no presentation is adjudged by the Review Panel to be of sufficiently high standard, a representative will not be selected.
  2. The award will be acknowledged at events and in editorial material as deemed appropriate by the College

Contact us

For more information on Jameson Investigator Award, please contact the RACP Foundation at foundation@racp.edu.au

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 Health Care: 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 points, with a certificate of completion available.

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

Close overlay