Queensland - August 2021
As I write this, the nation teeters on the edge of Delta COVID-19 outbreaks, exceeding various state control measures, with resulting deaths, and strain on our healthcare system. Although vaccination has started to accelerate, it now is a race between community vaccination reach and the spread of the virus.
As members of the RACP, we have a responsibility to provide information to those we encounter at work and amongst our social circles to encourage vaccination to be taken up as rapidly as possible within the constraints of availability and individual risks. In the meantime, our College continues advocating and advising governments on the approaches they can take as well as to strongly advocate around protection measures for healthcare workers.
We continue delivering examinations for our trainees as smoothly as possible and are supporting those who find the sudden changes understandably stressful and confusing. We continue delivering supervision, training and CPD through our membership in these very tense times. I congratulate all for this.
There is a risk that other issues can sometimes become sidelined in the urgency of the current outbreaks. Despite this, we continue working on issues in many areas with a focus on improving our healthcare system. We continue our advocacy work on raising the age of criminal responsibility across the country. In Queensland, we want to place this on the agenda when we (eventually) are able to meet with the Minister for Health.
The current situation of incarcerating children as young as 10 years old is a disgrace – running counter to our knowledge of brain development, international norms, as well as having no evidence that the practice leads to reductions in criminal behaviour. There is strong evidence that supporting families at risk is much more effective at preventing criminality and is also much more cost effective. In addition, the current system is clearly racist, with an overwhelming majority of children incarcerated being First Nations People. With the support of your community and politicians, I encourage all members to advocate for better social funding and raising the age of criminal responsibility.
Finally, I want to mention the work our College is doing in relation to gender equity. Your Regional Committee has been particularly interested in this because we strongly believe that employment, training and career opportunities go hand-in-hand. It is noticeable that some of our current policies, especially around training flexibility, do not necessarily translate to true access to flexible roles in our workforce. Our College has established a working party under the Fellowship Committee to examine the issues and develop strategies to improve the situation.
Hopefully, my next message will see improvements in the COVID-19 situation. In the meantime, stay safe and try to enjoy yourselves.
Professor Nick Buckmaster FRACP, FACEM
Queensland Regional Committee Chair
Dear RACP Queensland trainees and Fellows,
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic continues having a significant impact on our education, training and professional practice.
We are continuing to learn how to adapt to sudden lockdowns and ongoing social distancing. The RACP has run many successful virtual events in Queensland, including a hybrid RACP Congress in Brisbane. It continues to expand the library of online educational resources for trainees and Fellows. We encourage all members to continue participating in these excellent events and resources on a diverse range of topics.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has particularly affected the Divisional Clinical Examinations, as seen with the New South Wales and Victorian lockdowns. The Queensland Trainees’ Committee is continuing to advocate strongly for trainees – ensuring that any changes to exams are as equitable and seamless as possible, with minimal additional impact on trainee wellbeing in what is already a very challenging time.
At the time of writing, NAIDOC Week has just ended with numerous events being held across the country. The RACP continues its work using the Indigenous Strategic Framework 2018-2028 as a roadmap for the College to address ongoing issues with Indigenous health equity and outcomes, fostering a safe and culturally-competent College and increase our Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander physician workforce.
The Jameson Investigator Award for research related to Indigenous heath issues was launched during NAIDOC week, with applications open until Tuesday, 31 August. There are also various Indigenous Health Scholarships and prizes available that we encourage eligible trainees to apply for.
We would like to extend our congratulations to the Queensland recipients of the RACP College Awards – including Dr David Levitt, the RACP Mentor of the Year, the QLD recipients of the 2020 Trainee Research Awards Dr Hong Wu for Excellence in Adult Medicine, and Dr Alyssa Courtney for Excellence in Paediatric Medicine. We encourage you to participate in the Trainee Research Awards for 2021 and the Jameson Investigator Award. Hurry - applications close 31 August.
Nominations for a wide range of College Prizes are open until Tuesday, 14 September. Most awards are open to Fellows and trainees across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. Please refer to the RACP Foundation webpage for information on specific eligibility requirements for each award.
Also opening soon are applications for the RACP Indigenous Health Scholarships.
Finally, we would like to wish all examination candidates the best of luck for your upcoming clinical examinations.
If any trainees would like to get in touch, please contact us.
Dr Hash Abdeen and Dr Pallavi Thite
Queensland Trainees’ Committee Co-Chairs
Associate Professor Cecilie Lander AM
The Reverend Dr Cecilie Lander was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her significant service to neurological medicine, and to the Anglican Church of Australia.
Associate Professor Cecilie Lander is a Neurologist and Epileptologist, an Anglican priest and a Zen Roshi (Master). She obtained her medical degree with First Class Honours at the University of Queensland, trained at Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital (RBWH), the Austin Hospital, Melbourne and University College Hospital London. Commencing work as a visiting neurologist at RBWH in 1979, Associate Professor Lander established an antenatal clinic for women with epilepsy which continues to serve patients. She is a Principal Investigator of the Australian Pregnancy Register for Women on Anti-epileptic Drugs established in 1999. Associate Professor Lander commenced the epilepsy surgical program at the RBWH. She served for many years on the Australian Department of Health Committees for the safety of prescription medicines (ADEC and ADRAC) and was Vice-President of the Epilepsy Society of Australia (2012-2015).
Supporting epilepsy lay organisations, Associate Professor Lander frequently contributed to their educational material and symposia. She has taught and mentored neurology trainees throughout her career. She instigated the formation of the Myasthenia Gravis Association Queensland and remains their Patron and honorary life member.
Associate Professor Lander and her husband Dr Mervyn Lander were ordained Anglican Priests in 1996 and were Priest in Charge at East Brisbane 1999-2011. Concurrently she and her husband also trained in Zen meditation, both were appointed Zen teachers in 2003. They co-founded a Zen community in Brisbane where they continue to teach.
Dr Charles Steadman AM
Throughout my professional life, I have regarded my RACP Fellowship as a great privilege. Our College is one of the pre-eminent medical educational institutions in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand and Fellowships of our College are highly regarded and valued by College Fellows. As a trainee, I felt strongly supported by our College and after Fellowship, I wanted to give back to the RACP and my sub-specialty, gastroenterology and hepatology.
When I returned to Australia from the USA, I engaged with the Gastroenterological Society of Australia (GESA) and this led to becoming the Chairman for six years of the RACP Specialist Advisory Committee in Gastroenterology, the committee that approved advanced training in gastroenterology.
I remained interested in general medicine and basic training and became a member of the National Examining Panel then Senior Examining Panel for the RACP Divisional Clinical Exams. Around this time, I developed an interest in not-for-profit medical organisations. After some additional training and experience, I joined the RACP Finance Committee then became Honorary Treasurer and a Board Director of the RACP for some years.
I feel fortunate to have received the opportunity to contribute to RACP activities over many years and encourage others, particularly younger members, to engage with the RACP. I’m confident that those who choose to do so will find it rewarding as I have done.
Dr Charles Steadman AM, MBBS, MD, FRACP, AGAF, FAICD
Applications close Tuesday, 31 August 2021, 5pm AEST
Trainees and New Fellows undertaking post-Fellowship training are invited to submit abstracts for oral presentation at the 2021 RACP Trainee Research Awards. The awards are held annually, with each Australian state/territory and Aotearoa New Zealand selecting one winner from Adult Medicine and one from Paediatric and Child Health. Trainees from all Divisions, Faculties and Chapters are eligible to submit.
The best presenters from each Australian state/territory and from Aotearoa New Zealand are invited to be part of the Research and Innovation stream at the 2022 RACP Congress, with complimentary registration and travel. Abstracts are also published in the Congress supplement of the Internal Medicine Journal or Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health.
For information about application, eligibility, selection criteria and process, the abstract submission guideline, the prize details and a list of past winners please view this webpage. Submit your application by Tuesday, 31 August 2021, 5pm AEST. For queries, email the RACP Qld Regional Office.
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The Jameson Investigator Award for research related to Indigenous health issues is presented to the best oral research presentation made at the Queensland Regional Committee research presentation evening. Presentations can be made in person or via video conference. The recipient is awarded $400 and a certificate. Applications close Tuesday, 31 August 2021.
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The Neil Hamilton Fairley Medal and the Eric Susman Prize
The prestigious Neil Hamilton Fairley Medal is awarded by the RACP every five years. It acknowledges the outstanding contributions to the field of medicine made by a Fellow or an individual who is not a member of the College. Recent recipients include Professor Alan Mackay-Sim and Professor Roger Reddel. Nominations close Tuesday, 31 August 2021. Details on the selection criteria and nomination process and are available on the website.
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Nominations for the Eric Susman Prize also close Tuesday, 31 August. This Prize is awarded to a Fellow for the best contribution to the knowledge of internal medicine.
Recipients of these two awards are invited to speak at the RACP Congress.
College Medals and Awards
Don’t miss your opportunity to nominate your colleagues for the annual College Awards acknowledging outstanding contributions and achievements in their respective fields.
Nominations close Tuesday, 14 September 2021 for the following Medals and Awards:
- The John Sands Medal recognises a Fellow who makes a significant contribution to the welfare of the RACP and its members.
- The College Medal is aligned to the College motto hominum servire saluti. It is awarded to a Fellow who makes a significant contribution to medical specialist practice, healthcare and/or health of the community through physician activities.
- International Medal recognises a member who has provided outstanding service in developing countries.
- Medal for Clinical Service in Rural and Remote Areas recognises a Fellow who has provided outstanding clinical service in rural and remote areas of Australia or Aotearoa New Zealand.
- Mentor of the Year Award recognises a Fellow who has made an outstanding contribution to mentoring or provided a high level of support and guidance throughout training.
- Trainee of the Year recognises a trainee who has made an outstanding contribution to College, community and trainee activities.
Successful nominees are presented a medal at the RACP Congress and receive full Congress registration, return economy airfares and up to three nights’ accommodation. Full details are available on the RACP Foundation webpage.
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Gerry Murphy Prize
AFPHM Advanced Trainees are encouraged to submit an abstract for the 2022 Gerry Murphy Prize. Trainees across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand will receive the opportunity to present on public health issues at regional competitions hosted by the AFPHM Regional Committees. The best presenter from each regional event will go on to compete for the Gerry Murphy Prize at the Population Health Congress 2022. Applications close Thursday, 30 September 2021.
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John Snow Scholarship
The John Snow Scholarship provides opportunities for medical students to increase their appreciation of public health medicine as a medical specialty and potential career path. Medical students currently enrolled in Australian or Aotearoa New Zealand medical schools are encouraged to apply.
Selected representatives from each region across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand will be invited to present at a virtual event hosted by the Faculty in 2022. They will also receive $250 cash and online registration to the Population Health Congress 2022. The overall winner will receive $1,500 cash. Please see the website for further details. Applications close Tuesday, 12 October 2021.
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The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) invites you to informal Q&A sessions on My Health Record. Held every Thursday, the sessions are open to healthcare providers and non-clinical staff working within primary care, hospitals and other health settings. Come along with your questions and concerns and ADHA will attempt to clarify any issues during the session. Please submit questions you would like answered in advance of the session.
Date: Held every Thursday
Time: 12pm - 12.30pm AEST
Team gastro at the Prince Charles Hospital is a multi-disciplinary unit where every staff member is as valued as any other. We have nurtured a close, transparent, warm, and welcoming environment encouraging engagement and participation for all staff. Nursing leadership has been provided by our visionary Nurse Unit Manager, Ann Vandeleur.
The gastroenterology online project is only one example of several innovative multi-disciplinary efforts to improve the patient journeys, healthcare inequity and outcomes of public patients in our health district.
Our team has won a number of local and state-based awards for healthcare research, service re-design, innovation in practice, patient-centred delivery of care and excellence and Australia Day awards. We have submitted over 50 abstracts to national and international meetings, sharing patient-improving clinical practice with our Queensland colleagues, as well as those nationally and internationally. We have encouraged others to adapt, adopt and innovate and consequently are now recognised as a centre for innovation and excellence. A team effort!
Summary of project and achievements
The gastroenterology online (GEO) platform: Improving patient education, informing choice and decision-making
Our vision was an online video information platform of excellence that could be accessed as required by Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups, facilitating high quality patient-centred information, leading to reduction in out-patient attendance. GEO was accessible on all media devices including smartphones. Following due diligence, Pocket Medics (UK) was engaged to develop, create, and implement locally shot short videos for three clinical pathways facilitating hospital avoidance (travel maybe > 500km)
The preparation, risks and consent for endoscopy/colonoscopy achieved over 7,000 views, avoiding over 3,000 face-to-face appointments. It facilitated over 3,500 procedures and reduced wait times by three months. It did not have a reduction in polyp/adenoma detection rates, poor bowel prep, or increase in any adverse effects.
The hepatitis C and remote treatment pathway has now cured over 700 community-based patients, cured over 400 clients in our local correctional centre – all without stepping foot into a hospital. This has reduced patient and carer travel hours, is associated with over 20,0000 km reduction in road and air travel.
The Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) pathway has helped over 500 patients, with a significant reduction of 2cm in waist-hip ratio, improved dietary vigilance and weight reduction, with little or no hospital attendance.
Indigenous (Indigenous people’s message) and non-Indigenous patients, liaison teams and patient advocacy groups participated in our focus groups. This provided us with the valuable opportunity to gather information to see how we could adapt to patient requirements. The filming of the video is centred around our patient journeys, some starting in their homes with family, and interviewed after their procedures. Feedback has applauded this context and approach.
The program was COVID-19 friendly – at its conception in 2017, there were no such platforms in the world. This was developed and in-use pre-COVID-19. Since then, it has been adopted more readily, as it offers a COVID-19 appropriate pathway that reduces patient and staff risk.
This year, we will re-evaluate the project based on patient feedback surveys. The initial cohort sample of 50 was unanimously favourable, complimenting the standard of material content. They enjoyed the ability to re-watch content, and share with their family, carer, or GP. The response was that it created local familiarity with staff in the videos, as they were welcomed by the same reception staff on arrival, and it was also welcomed by our Indigenous communities
Professor Tony Rahman, FRACP
Pictured: Professor Tony Rahman, Ann Vendeleur and team gastro – The Prince Charles Hospital
Practicing rural and remote medicine offers opportunities, career progression and a lifestyle simply not available in Australia’s big cities. You can watch a fascinating new series of short videos In our Own Words, about the critical role our Fellows and trainees fulfil in providing healthcare to small towns, the regions and remote Australia, via the Specialist Training Program (STP).
The STP is a funding initiative of the Australian Government Department of Health. There are around 900 STP-funded training positions across Australia, managed by 13 medical colleges. The RACP currently manages around 380 positions.
With funding from the Commonwealth Department of Health, we’re increasing awareness and understanding of the Program. Our members tell their own stories, what it has meant to them and the communities they serve.
We will be releasing these to you weekly over the coming months. The videos will be available on the RACP website, where we have created a new mini-site information about the program.
Joining a group practice webinar
Are you thinking about joining an established group practice? The Joining a group practice webinar is a great starting point for you. New specialists will be given an overview of the ideal process for joining an established specialist practice. You'll hear about the structures used and process to join, valuation models, legal agreements, as well as tips and traps for joining a practice.
Date: Saturday, 18 September 2021
Time: 9am – 12pm
Event type: Online via Zoom
Boost your financial health webinar
The Boost your financial health webinar is aimed at doctors looking to build their knowledge regarding their financials, wealth creation and setting themselves up for the future. You will hear useful tips and actions for a healthy financial situation.
Date: Wednesday, 27 November 2021
Time: 9am – 12pm
Event type: Online via Zoom
Supervisor Professional Development Program
The Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP) continues evolving, 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. If you would like to register for an upcoming virtual or online SPDP workshop available to members, please visit the SPDP webpage.
The Queensland Regional Office in Brisbane remains closed to members and the public due to COVID-19. Staff continue supporting Queensland members and can be reached on email@example.com
or 07 3872 7000.
Date: Tuesday, 19 October 2021
Time: 7pm – 8.30pm AEDT
Event type: Webinar
Final year Advanced Trainees and New Fellows are invited to the RACP National New Fellows' Forum 2021. This online event will be held on Tuesday, 19 October from 7pm to 8.30pm AEDT. You'll hear about events and resources that will support you on your journey through Fellowship.
Topics will include:
- I'm a New Fellow, what’s next? A step-by-step process for New Fellows, including CPD
- The things I wish I knew when I was new: Hear from a recent New Fellow about what to expect
- Medico-legal issues directly relating to New Fellows
You will also enjoy a panel discussion supported by experienced Fellows to help you navigate through the next stage of your career.
Your College, your voice. We’re listening
There’s still time to share your thoughts about the College via our Member Satisfaction Survey (MSS).
Please complete the survey and have your say so we can understand your overall satisfaction with the College and identify areas for improvement. The survey closing date has been extended by two weeks and will now close on Monday, 30 August 2021. The survey should take no longer than 15 minutes. This is your chance to tell us how we’re doing and have your say.
The survey is being conducted by EY Sweeney, an independent contractor. They will provide aggregated results back to us and any individual comments are not identified as coming from a specific member – your survey responses are anonymous.
How you can access the survey
On Tuesday, 27 July, you should have received an email containing the survey link from firstname.lastname@example.org. You should also receive a reminder email from them today, 13 August. If you didn’t receive these emails, contact us. Further information about the survey is available on the RACP website.
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To assist health practitioners in the use of QScript, the QScript Learning Portal commenced on 28 June 2021. The portal provides access to a series of online learning modules, videos and factsheets to help introduce you to QScript and enhance your clinical practice with monitored medicines including:
Your legislative requirements
Online learning modules detailing the legislative requirements proposed under the new Medicines and Poisons Act 2019 (when it commences). It provides an overview of the new scheme including who is authorised to prescribe and dispense monitored medicines, the regulatory framework known as the Monitored Medicines Standard (MMS) and other background information about QScript.
'High-Risk Clinical Scenarios' takes an in-depth look at each high-risk scenario that can be triggered when using QScript. It outlines a health practitioner’s regulatory obligations and how they can be applied in practice.
How to use QScript
A series of factsheets and resources to help you access and navigate the QScript database.
This package contains a series of fact sheets and resources to help you access, navigate, and troubleshoot the QScript database as well as links to further support.
Clinical best practice
A suite of online learning modules containing the latest clinical information and advice on each monitored medicine and related practice issues.
This package contains a series of online learning modules designed to enhance clinical practice in the prescribing and dispensing of monitored medicine and other related issues. They feature the latest information and research, video recordings of experts discussing complex areas of practice as well as links to useful tools and resources.
Don’t forget to register for QScript. When it is available on the commencement of the Medicines and Poisons Act 2019, you will be able to log in and use it immediately.
A new online learning resource on ethics and interactions with industry has been developed to help RACP members conduct and maintain ethical relationships with industry. The resource supplements the RACP’s Guidelines for ethical relationships between health professionals and industry and aims to assist physicians in identifying, assessing and managing conflicts of interest through engaging video scenarios and discussion questions.
Each College Learning Series (CLS) lecture must pass clinical review before it is uploaded. To assist with these reviews, we are currently seeking PCHD Advanced Trainees and Fellows. Interested members are invited to email CLS@racp.edu.au for further information and to apply.
Episode 71: Voluntary assisted dying – What have we learned?
In 2017, Victoria was the first state in Australia to pass voluntary assisted legislation and has been followed by Western Australia, Tasmania and now South Australia. Aotearoa New Zealand passed its End-of-life Choice Bill two years ago and it will go live in November. This podcast draws on the experience of some very committed Victorian clinicians who share the lessons they've learned over the last two years about practical implementation of voluntary assisted dying (VAD).
The presenters were recorded at RACP Congress 2021 held in May. Palliative care physician, Dr Danielle Ko, explained how Austin Health has prepared and supported its healthcare staff through this shift in practice. Palliative care physician Dr Greg Mewitt described the challenge of consulting remotely with patients in regional Victoria. Professor Paul Komesaroff reflected on some other points of friction in Victoria’s law as it stands and the practicalities of medical practice. And Professor James Howe talked of his work as a neurologist in a Catholic healthcare institution, and how tensions over assisted dying had been resolved.
- Dr Danielle Ko FRACGP FAChPM (Clinical Ethics Lead, Austin Health; VAD Review Board, Safercare Victoria)
- Dr Greg Mewett FRACGP FAChPM DRCOG (Ballarat Rural Health; Grampians Regional Palliative Care Team)
- Professor Paul Komesaroff FRACP (Alfred Hospital; Monash University)
- Professor James Howe FRACP (VAD Review Board, Safercare Victoria)
- Dr George Laking FRACP (Auckland City Hospital; RACP President Aotearoa New Zealand).
Do you want to be among the first to find out about more Pomegranate Health podcasts? Subscribe to email alerts or search for ‘Pomegranate Health’ in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Castbox, or any podcasting app. RACP Fellows can claim CPD credits for listening and learning via MyCPD. For a transcript and further references please visit our webpage.
The results of the 2020 Physician Training Survey are now available to RACP members through an interactive reporting dashboard. You can access the dashboard through your MyRACP login.
View the Physician Training Survey 2020 Summary Report for an overview of the key findings for all physician trainees and educators and how they compare to those from 2018.
The survey results indicate that most trainee and educator respondents were satisfied with their overall training experience in 2020 and would recommend their workplace training setting to others. However, it is evident that last year, service provision took priority over education compared to previous years and educational opportunities were reduced. Ongoing issues regarding workload, wellbeing and workplace culture were highlighted once again, with increased rates of burnout, bullying, harassment and discrimination. While some of the concerning findings may be temporary impacts of COVID-19, the results highlight ongoing systemic issues that need to be addressed.
Through the Physician Training Survey, the RACP:
- supports individuals by providing confidential support to respondents who raised wellbeing concerns through the RACP support program
- drives improvements in training settings by providing feedback and identifying settings with results that indicate potential concerns and asking the training setting’s executives to respond to the feedback
- informs systemic change by using results in the development of strategic approaches to improve physician training and the culture of medicine.
We thank all trainees and educators who took part in this important activity.
About the Physician Training Survey
Eligible RACP trainees and their educators were asked to reflect on their training experiences during term three in Australia and quarter four in Aotearoa New Zealand. Twenty-one per cent (n=1675) of trainees and 17 per cent (n=907) of educators responded to the survey. The survey explored topics aligned to the Training Provider Standards. We also sought feedback on the impacts of COVID-19 on training.
The survey is independently administered by research company ENGINE, ensuring we receive anonymous survey data only. Data is not reported where there are less than five participant responses.
Further details about the Physician Training Survey are provided on the RACP webpage. If you have questions regarding the Physician Training Survey, please email us at email@example.com.