Queensland - April 2021

A message from the Queensland Regional Committee Chair

Associate Professor Nick Buckmaster

I am writing this from home, because as I write this, we're facing yet another COVID-19 outbreak affecting Queenslanders lives and livelihoods. Over recent weeks, there has been further major disruption to clinical exams in various sites, however despite this, our College has managed to hold the 2021 Divisional Written Exams. Hopefully the modified Divisional Clinical Exams will be completed by the 2020 cohort by the time you read this.

Trainees have shown remarkable patience with last minute changes forced by sudden lockdowns in Brisbane. I can only imagine how disruptive this has been to them, as well as to the many examiners who give their time so generously.

Whilst talking about generous donation of time, I want to acknowledge and thank the facilitators of the SPDP workshops held since 2012. Many individuals have invested time to attend training to become SPDP facilitators. Several have delivered large numbers of these workshops, despite the challenging circumstances, especially where there are very senior and respected colleagues in the audience. 
These Fellows are passionate about providing resources, training and support for both supervisors and trainees across Queensland and the wider College community. Facilitators create a safe and collegial environment for Supervisors and the occasional very welcome final year Advanced Trainee, to share their experiences and learn from each other.

If you know any one of these generous individuals, I invite you to join me in thanking them for their contribution to the development of College supervisors. If you have attended Facilitator Training and have yet to facilitate a workshop, or, would like to support more workshops, please contact the RACP Queensland Office . If you have yet to meet the requirements to be an RACP Supervisor and would like to attend SPDP Workshops, please register.

I am taking this opportunity to highlight the work of Queensland Fellows who received recognition in this year’s Australia Day Honours. Dr Jim Jip McGill was awarded as a member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for his significant service in metabolic medicine to biochemical genetic pathology and to medical education. Dr Chris Schull received the Medal Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in the General Division for his service in thoracic and tropical medicine in the community.

I would like to thank these two Fellows for their work and contribution to medicine and for helping raise the bar for outstanding work of RACP members both locally, nationally, and internationally.

Professor Nick Buckmaster FRACP, FACEM
Queensland Regional Committee Chair

A message from your Queensland Trainees' Committee Co-Chairs

Welcome to 2021, which brings ongoing unique challenges but hope after a very difficult year. By now some of you will have received your first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This has been an incredible achievement for medicine, and one that will hopefully mean moving past the worst of this pandemic. 

By the time this eBulletin is published, the majority of eligible trainees will have completed the 2020 Divisional Clinical Examinations. It has been a monumental effort by our DPEs, examiners and Fellows at each training site and we thank them for their efforts in such an uncertain time. Unfortunately, there continues to be acutely changing circumstances that have affected some candidates and have been very challenging. We are aiming to ensure adequate timely information is provided to candidates and have contingency strategies in place where possible. 

RACP Congress 2021 in May will be streamed virtually this year, as well as a face-to-face day in each state. Brisbane’s session will be chaired by Professor Nick Buckmaster, speakers include Dr Michael Ryan and Professor Anne Chang. Registration will allow access to the virtual content for six months, including clinical updates, professional practice workshops and more. We encourage all trainees to register and look forward to seeing some of you in person.

The expression of interest (EOI) for a trainee representative on the 2022-2023 Congress Program Committee is open to any interested trainees. You can find out more on the EOI webpage.

If any trainees would like to get in touch with us, we would love to hear from you.

Dr Hash Abdeen and Dr Pallavi Thite              
Queensland Trainees’ Committee Co-Chairs

Photo - Hash Abdeen     Photo - Dr Pallavi Thite QLD Trainee Committee PCHD Co Chair

Advanced Training Curricula Renewal update

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2020 consultation on the proposed common learning, teaching and assessment (LTA) programs for Advanced Training (AT). Your feedback was used to refine the programs and ensure they are robust and appropriate. The common LTA programs for Advanced Training have now been finalised.

The common LTA programs will establish a baseline for learning, teaching and assessment across all AT programs. As each specialty undertakes their program-specific curricula reviews, they will build on the common LTA programs to meet the needs of their specialty.

This year, in collaboration with Curriculum Advisory Group, we will continue to support the first six specialty groups to undertake the development process:

  • Cardiology (Adult Medicine)
  • Cardiology (Paediatrics & Child Health)
  • Gastroenterology
  • Geriatric Medicine
  • Nephrology
  • General Rehabilitation Medicine.

Find out more 

A most unusual patient for a Rockhampton general paediatrician

1. Dr Sunday Pam and Primate Keeper Blair Chapman and Gandli

Dr Sunday Pam, a paediatrician based at Rockhampton Hospital, received a call from Rockhampton Zoo for the treatment of an unlikely patient. Below is Dr Pam’s account of treating the chimpanzee patient, Gandali.

I received a call on 1 December 2020 – it was the head of an allied health department, with an explanation that their request was ‘weird’. I was silent. “Are you still there? Pop your seat belt on” he said. “I have been asked by the Zoo Manager to get you to see a 10-month-old infant chimpanzee following possible severe injuries from a fall.” I could not laugh, cry, or even speak. My silence betrayed me. He continued, “Human doctors generally see them instead of veterinarians because they are closer to humans.” Reference was made to a local human subspecialist who sees the adult chimps. In this case, the local vets had been consulted and declined.

My mind went to ‘what about registration regulations?’ I was reassured that this was not an issue for the above reasons. I was asked for my number to give to the lovely zoo manager, a few minutes later she called. I was again reassured and now I was getting interested, but cautiously. I was invited to name my fee and to decide how I would be paid. I quickly declined and told her that it would be my contribution to the local zoo.

Having heard the story and the behaviour of the animal, I suspected an intracranial bleed and recommended a quick CT. This would need to be under general anaesthetic. The vets, doctor and nurse were willing to give the general anaesthetic but not make any decisions on the health of Gandali.

At 7pm, my recipe-style cooking was interrupted to head to the radiology outfit in town for the celebrity CT. On arrival, I had difficulty touching the animal due to fear of zoonoses. The pictures will show me standing far away from Gandali. My physical examination with gloved hands, was similar to what I would do for a child with the same history. It was based on symmetry to rule out lateralising signs. There were none, however, there were bruises on the head, ear, and arm on the same side. This reinforced my suspicion and confirmed my request for the CT.

The CT was preceded by celebrity pictures with the sick animal. Finally, Gandali was under general anaesthetic and the CT completed without further ado. The CT showed as normal, later confirmed by the radiologist. Again, my reading of the image was purely on principles of symmetry and appearance in the human child. I cleared my chimpanzee patient of severe intracranial bleed. Gandali returned to the zoo that night.

By the next morning, I had become a celebrity Chimp Paediatrician, that I had never trained for, with only the very basic principles of medicine delivered by me.

Dr Sunday Pam FRACP

 2. Gandali in MRI 3. Gandali MRI 4. Chimp Gandali Sedated

Image one (at start of article): Dr Sunday Pam and Primate Keeper Blair Chamma and Gandli, Image two: Chimp Gandali in MRI, Image three: Chimp MRI, Image four: Chimp Gandali sedated.

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Last chance to register for RACP Congress 2021

It’s now only two days until RACP Congress 2021 commences in Brisbane and time is running out to secure your ticket. Remember that when you purchase your face-to-face ticket for one of the six cities, you can also live stream the entire RACP Congress 2021 program. Online access to the RACP Congress 2021 sessions will be available exclusively to those who register, so do not miss the opportunity to hear from expert voices across a range of topics.

Be there as we congratulate the Queensland Trainee Research Award 2020 recipients at their presentation and make sure that you join us for sessions such as:

  • Remote retinal scanning: Transforming early detection outcomes
  • Genetic discovery and translation in neuromuscular diseases
  • Our digital health future, today
  • Climate change in the Pacific
  • Advancing Women in Healthcare
  • Artificial intelligence: Ready or not here it comes
  • Building a solution space for Indigenous health at the RACP: Transformations, challenges and opportunities

Find out more

Fellow in focus: Dr Chris Schull

Recipient of a 2021 Medal of the Australia in the General Division for his service in thoracic and tropical medicine in the Community. 

Photo - Dr Chris SchullIt had always been clear but was then set out succinctly and convincingly by Maurice King in 1967 in Medicare in Developing Countries that the medical problems and solutions in developing countries are not those that are taught in developed countries. Severely limited finances, large and rapidly increasing populations, and gross inequality of wealth distribution lay behind most of the health problems – inadequate nutrition, education, housing, safe water, hygienic sanitation etc. Alternative methods of healthcare was needed.

Common diseases (many of them infections) were preventable or treatable by simple hygienic, medical or surgical techniques which could be inexpensive. Medical care should be as close as possible to where people actually lived and in the smallest, cheapest, most humbly-staffed and equipped facility available. It shouldn’t be in huge, expensive hospitals accessible only to people who lived nearby, but which used most of the health budget needed by the majority of the usually distant population. The role of the doctor was not to do routine clinical work, but to be the organiser, teacher, supervisor, consultant and motivating force behind the health machine.

We found ourselves in the previous Biafra at the end of the Nigerian/Biafran war, and then for 10 years in a small rural town in Papua New Guinea, where the only training college for the country for paramedical workers was situated. We therefore determined that our main effort had to be in training paramedical workers. These must work in mostly rural health centres where a large proportion of the population lived. As well as formal teaching, I ran half of my 100-bed medical ward as a health centre. All presenting patients were admitted to it and each well-cared for by one of the paramedical students. I reviewed every patient every day with the student.

Students used criteria we developed together to know when and how to transfer the patient from the health centre to my medical ward section. They would later have to do so from their rural health centre. A summary book, pocketbooks and a reference book with the knowledge they needed had to be developed and tested on the students. One of our major efforts, as suggested by the World Health Organization and Professor David Morley of the University of London, was to expand our Papua New Guinea reference book to make it applicable to the whole developing world. He also suggested for it to be published by Macmillan and distributed by the charity Teaching Aids at Low Cost. Several drafts of the three editions of Common Medical Problems in the Tropics as well as the other books had to be typed by my wife. 

Other activities, such as the quarterly review of all leprosy and tuberculosis patients were important for the patients, the staff and the confidence of the population. The consultant medical work with problems too complex for the paramedical workers was rewarding and even exciting.

Unfortunately, the sort of medical care described by King is in practice, not always implemented across the world; or, if it is, the health centres are often not properly supported with regular medical visits, adequate regular drug supplies and upkeep of essential equipment.

Our attempts to do this type of medical care, however, gave us a high sense of achievement and satisfaction and in fact enjoyment. Getting to know staff and patients of a different culture was a real privilege. I can thoroughly recommend such work to our highly skilled physician colleagues. 

Dr Chris Schull FRACP

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RACP Foundation Research Awards

Congratulations to the Fellows from Queensland who have been awarded the RACP MAIC Career Development Fellowship, Queensland Regional Committee Research Development Grant and other RACP Foundation Research Awards for 2021.





RACP MAIC Career Development Fellowship

Professor Timothy John Geraghty


Princess Alexandra Hospital, Metro South Health

Complex rehabilitation in systems under immense stress (CRISIS): Secondary health complications and access to services during system disruption for people with spinal cord injury (SCI) – The CRISIS-SCI Study

Queensland Regional Committee Research Development Grant

Dr Ian Gassiep

University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research (UQCCR)

Whole genome sequencing of Burkholderia pseudomallei clinical isolates from Queensland, Australia

RACP Research Establishment Fellowship

Associate Professor Bridget Barber

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

Evaluating the role of osteoprotegerin and its ligands in malaria

RACP ESA Research Establishment Fellowship in Endocrinology

Dr Emily Kate Brooks

Princess Alexandra Hospital

Comparison of two tapering regimens in the management of glucocorticoid withdrawal

RACP Research Establishment Fellowship

Dr Anna Francis

Queensland Children's Hospital / University of Queensland

Improving long-term outcomes for children and young adults with chronic kidney disease

Jacquot Research Entry Scholarship

Dr Rowena Lalji

The Princess Alexandra Hospital / University of Queensland

The impact of social disparity on access to care and overall health outcomes of children with chronic kidney disease.

Bushell Travelling Fellowship in Medicine or the Allied Sciences

Dr Christopher Rusheng Chew

University of Oxford, Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU)

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Tropical Medicine and Global Health

The Foundation would like to express its appreciation to Professor Nick Buckmaster, Dr Vikas Goyal and Professor Tony Rahman for their assistance in assessing applications for the Queensland Regional Committee Research Development Grant, as well as the Grants Advisory Committee and other Fellows whose generous contribution of time and expertise have made the review process for these awards possible.

Applications for the 2022 funding round will open on Monday, 3 May 2021. Upwards of 50 awards up to a total value of $2.5M are available across the different categories: 

Applications for the following other award categories will open Tuesday, 1 June 2021:

Tenable only in Queensland, the RACP MAIC Research Awards is a partnership between the RACP and the Queensland Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC). This offers research funding in the Career Development and Research Establishment categories to support research capacity and capability to improve knowledge on:
  • medical conditions or illnesses which cause or contribute to motor vehicle accidents (MVAs)
  • medical treatments or approaches that improve health outcomes for people involved in MVAs
  • rehabilitation of people who sustain a temporary or permanent disability through MVAs
  • improving longer term outcomes of people injured in MVAs including pain management, community re-integration, psychosocial, mental health and vocational outcomes.

AChPM Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Discipline of Palliative Medicine

Nominate a Fellow for their outstanding contribution to Palliative Medicine. The award includes a cash prize of $500 and a certificate formally presented at the ANZSPM Conference in September 2021. Please see the website for further details. Nominations close 30 June 2021.

AChSHM Jan Edwards Prize

The Jan Edwards Prize is awarded for the best research-based abstract oral presentation by a registered AChSHM trainee. The prize includes $500 and a certificate. For further details and to apply please visit the website. Applications close 31 May 2021.

Queensland Notifiable Dust Lung Disease Register update

The Queensland Notifiable Dust Lung Disease Register (NDLD Register) has commenced preparing for the Register’s second Annual Report (2020-21), as required under the Public Health Act 2005 (the Act). All notifications received by 30 June 2021 will be included in the 2020-21 Annual Report.     

Occupational and respiratory specialists are required to notify the NDLD Register within 30 days of making a diagnosis of a notifiable dust lung disease in the Approved Form. The only exemption from the requirement to make a notification to the NDLD Register is if the specialist has reported the case to Resources Safety and Health Queensland.

For further information, please visit the NDLD Register website, contact the NDLD Register by email, or phone: 3328 9632. 

National Dust Disease Registry

State and Territory Health Department staff (including those from the NDLD Register) and other key stakeholders are assisting the Commonwealth with the design of the new National Dust Disease Registry. For further information, please visit the Department of Health | National Dust Disease Taskforce websites.

Upcoming RACP Queensland events

Succession and wealth legacy

The succession and wealth legacy seminar is an information session for doctors looking to review their financial position and structuring to ensure that adequate consideration has been given to protecting their wealth both from the perspective of potential claims and also ensuring that any legacy they provide their children is protected also. The learning outcome is to provide specialists with an overview of the legal and financial planning aspects of wealth protection. The role insurance and structuring plays with asset protection.

Date: Tuesday, 25 May 2021
Time: 7pm - 8.30pm 
Event type: Online event via Zoom

Register now

Investing: Tips and traps

The Investing: Tips and traps seminar is aimed at doctors looking to build their knowledge surrounding the various investing options that are available to them.

The seminar will cover:

  • buying your principal place of residence
  • buying and investing in residential property
  • shares and managed funds
  • using superannuation to build wealth
  • commercial property ownership, specifically owning your own premises/rooms.

The learning outcome is to provide both experienced and new specialists with an insight and understanding of how tax impacts the return from your investments, investment fundamentals and an outlook for the current financial year.

Date: Tuesday, 22 June 2021
Time: 7pm - 8.30pm 
Event type: Online event via Zoom

Register now

Starting a group private practice with colleagues

This seminar is the starting point for New Fellows to the College who wish to commence some private practice work while still maintaining their hospital work. The learning outcome is to provide new specialists with an overview of the taxation and record keeping, insurance, billing and legal arrangements needed as they commence private work.

Date: Saturday, 31 July 2021
Time: 9am - 2pm 
Event type: Online event via Zoom

Joining a group practice

The joining a group practice seminar is the starting point for Fellows who wish to join an established group practice. The learning outcome is to provide new specialists with an overview of the ideal process for joining an established specialist practice. The seminar will cover the structures used and process to join, valuation models, legal agreements, tips and traps for joining a practice.

Date: Saturday, 18 September 2021
Time: 9am - 12pm 
Event type: Online event via Zoom

Register now

Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP)

The SPDP continues to evolve with recent name changes to each of the three workshops. If you completed any of the workshops prior to the March 2021 changes, there is no requirement to repeat the workshops you have already completed.

Find out more

The Queensland Regional Office in Brisbane is closed to members and the public at the present time due to COVID-19. Staff continue to support members throughout Queensland, we can be reached on racpqld@racp.edu.au or (07) 3872 7000.

RACP Online Learning

Online course: Physician wellbeing in challenging times

Physicians often fail to put on their own oxygen masks when dealing with the challenges and stresses that come with practising during a pandemic. This online course explores in-depth how to better support your own wellbeing, as well as the wellbeing of your staff and colleagues through compassionate leadership. The course covers concepts, strategies, and tools to help you mitigate the impact, set healthy boundaries, prevent burnout, and build support networks during a crisis.

Enrol now

Developing effective teaching skills QStream course

Fellows and trainees of all specialties are invited to enrol in this new Qstream course, which has a mid-May start. The course is designed to provide practical strategies to help you enhance your teaching skills and effectively balance teaching with a busy workload.

You'll access in-depth case studies with questions that are sent directly to your inbox at spaced intervals over a three-week period. Each question takes just ten minutes to complete, and participants are encouraged to discuss the case studies and share opinions with others through secure, online discussion forums.

The course is designed to enhance your knowledge in adult learning, provide practical strategies to incorporate effective teaching skills into day-to-day settings, and encourage self-reflection and peer discussion.

Enrol now


Keep up-to-date with RACP events

We’re hosting more online events than ever before, so have introduced a condensed monthly events digest. The first one was sent to you on 7 April, but you can also read it online.

This monthly communication will be sent to you on the first Wednesday of each month, to provide you with an opportunity to virtually attend events from all over Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. We hope this makes your life that little bit easier and we look forward to seeing you at our next event.

Read the April events digest

Pomegranate Health Podcast: Gendered medicine - Funding and research

podcastThis is the third and final part of the series on gendered medicine. We step back and look at the way that health care and research are funded. It’s been said that the health needs of women are undervalued by our existing fee-for-service model, down to individual item numbers in the Medicare Benefits Schedule. There’s also evidence that diseases predominantly experienced by female patients receive less research investment. Is this blatant sexism or a symptom of structural imbalance, and what do we do about it?


Dr Zoe Wainer BMBS, PhD, MPH (Director of Clinical Governance, BUPA)

Listen now

Don’t miss your chance to become an RACP accreditor

Expressions of Interest are still open for Fellows in the Adult Medicine and Paediatric & Child Health Divisions to join our team of accreditors. As an accreditor, you play a vital role in ensuring the delivery of high-quality workplace training. Your contribution to accreditation can also count towards your annual CPD credits.

Please submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) form by Wednesday, 30 June to accreditation@racp.edu.au

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