South Australia - May 2019

A message from your South Australian Regional Committee Chair

Change is all around us and this will inevitably bring advantage to some, but not to all. As Federal and State elections loom we will once again see health related policies as key determinants in their outcome. The shortness of the electoral cycle, however, is not always conducive to the stability required to plan infrastructure, workforce, or to create stable models of care and remuneration.

As we physicians and trainees face change, some see opportunities. Others look back with loss and nostalgia or feel threatened by an uncertain future.

Our College Board has to wrestle with the heritage of the past to find a future that unifies us. This whilst keeping pace with the Australian Medical Council requirements to be the accredited training body for physicians, and the Australian Medical Board requirements for professional development.

We are likely to see ongoing changes in politics both locally and geo-politically. Locally, there are draft proposals of changes to Medicare including suggesting a move to time-based remuneration. The electronic medical record which has yet to penetrate much of physician practice in Australia is likely to have a profound influence on our practice particularly if it used as a compliance measure for remuneration such as in the USA where this reportedly is contributing significantly to an extremely high level of physician burnout.

More broadly there is the impact of technology on our social structures and how we behave and interact. Uncertainty as to the potential profound impact on us all of climate change, artificial intelligence, use of genomics in diagnostic and potentially therapeutic circumstances. The geo-potential threats of conflict as the world competes for limited resources.

Within all of this we will have a capacity to influence both within and outside of the College, but without a voice we acquiesce and potentially deny the richness of diversity of understandings that can help navigate the best course of action.

Within the current College structure, the Regional committees as well as many other College committees and interest groups provide an opportunity to have a voice to inform and influence College. We currently have a vacancy on the South Australian Regional Committee and I welcome expressions of interest for the opportunity. It is a common future, it cannot be something we set and forget, it requires attention and action.

Dr Rob van den Berg
SA Regional Committee Chair

South Australia Basic Physician training - Orientation

Over 50 first year trainees attended an Orientation Session at the RACP Adelaide office on Wednesday, 20 February.  For many, it was their first introduction to the College and the opportunity to meet other basic trainees. 

The audience had the opportunity to listen to a range of guest speakers including Chair of the RACP South Australian State Committee, Dr Rob van den Berg along with  DPEs from Dr Suchi Grover & Dr Brian Coppin (Flinders Medical Centre), Associate Professor Mitra Guha (Royal Adelaide Hospital), Dr Mark Morton (Modbury Hospital) and Dr David Baulderstone (Women’s and Children’s Hospital). The DPEs were very entertaining with welcoming new Basic Trainees and providing an overview of their expectations.

Following the DPE presentation, RACP Member Support Officer outlined the requirements for the Basic Training program, learning and assessments tools, where trainees can get support, awareness of fees and exam dates.

After the dinner break Dr Roger Sexton provided a humorous presentation on maintaining your health as a doctor and ensuring you maintain work/life balance.

The final presentation for the night was by members of the SA Trainee Committee, Co-Chair Dr Daina Rudaks, Dr Alyssa Fitzpatrick and Dr Mahsa Gieve. They provided the audience with information on approaches to training, tools to create a good work/life balance during training, hospital-based learning and what to do and not to do.  They also provided an extensive list of learning resources they found useful with their studies.

 Associate Prof Mitra Guha

Pictured: Associate Professor Mitra Guha (Royal Adelaide Hospital)

SA Trainee Committee Members 1

Pictured: Dr Roger Sexton (Doctors Health)

Combined Colleges Career Expo

Morphettville Racecourse - 6 March 2019

Final year medical students, PGY1 & PGY2 were invited to the annual Combined College Career evening with presentations from each College and the opportunity to ask questions of senior representatives and trainees from each College during the exhibition.

SA Regional Committee Chair Dr Rob van den Berg and SA Trainee Committee Co-Chair Yang Du presented on why joining the RACP is the right career move.

Overwhelmingly, the RACP doctors and materials were the most sought after on the night.

A big thank you to Dr Rob van den Berg, Dr Yang Du, Dr Daina Rudaks, Dr Alyssa Fitzpatrick, Dr Malithi Gamage and Dr Ellen Hurley for supporting this event and providing your expertise.

 Combined Colleges Career Expo  2

Reflection on medical training in Australia

Basic Training workplace role balance diagramAs we welcomed the new trainees at the recent BPT Orientation night, it was a good chance to reflect on where training has taken me these last few years.

I believe that one of the great things about medical training in Australia is the range of health care sites available in which to train, not bounded by state borders. Whilst my paediatric training has been based in South Australia, I've just returned from six months working at Royal Darwin Hospital (RDH). This time 'up north' gave me insight into a different spectrum of diseases, showcased a range of tropical medicine, provided significant exposure to Indigenous health and rheumatic heart disease, and gave me ample opportunity to explore the NT.

While most registrars in the Paediatric department at RDH were only working in Darwin for six to twelve months, others were planning to stay on for two years, or planning to return later in their training or when they had completed fellowship.

The work environment is made up of registrars from truly diverse backgrounds, and that is one of the things I enjoyed most. Registrars come from all states to spend some time in Darwin, though very few states have formal links for such rotations.

The diverse mix of backgrounds resulted in endless opportunities to learn from one another's varied practice at each teaching session and clinical handover. It was once again a great reminder that there are many approaches to clinical scenarios in medicine, and that as we progress through training we will slowly find which approaches suit us and our patients best.

There are just as many opportunities locally in South Australia, but trainees shouldn't feel restricted - broadening your practice exposure is invaluable and I highly recommend it.

SA Trainee Committee Co-Chair Daina Rudaks

Fellow in focus: Dr Hima Venugopal

Dr Hima VenugopalI am a fellow of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anesthesiology and Fellow of the Australian Faculty of Rehab Medicine, currently working as an interventional pain Physician at Flinders Medical Centre. I work in both public and private sectors. I was trained as a rehabilitation physician prior to specialising in pain medicine. My special areas of interest include cancer pain and pelvic pain. I am also a member of the credentialing committee at Flinders Medical Centre.

I am a versatile person who performs Indian classical dance as a hobby. I have performed at Adelaide fringe shows in the past. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my husband and two children (aged 10 and 14). I try to organise and structure my day around my work and family. I plan out my chores carefully and ensure that my day is well balanced. I am lucky to have a very supportive family.

My most rewarding aspect of work is being able to provide professional advice and recommendations in the complex world of chronic pain. I am especially pleased when patients get relief from pain after an intervention.

Each morning I look forward to another challenging day of work as I really enjoy my specialty. In addition, I also enjoy procedural work immensely. My days are a combination of clinics and theatre sessions. I am regularly involved in medical student teaching and supervising trainees in rehabilitation training and projects. I am actively involved in research.

In my last two decades as a doctor, with experience ranging from obstetrics (10 years), there have been many humbling experiences. The most recent one being able to help a patient with ongoing radicular pain by performing a caudal epidural block and rehabilitate her back to full time work.



What do we do?

Fellows of the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine often get asked by our colleagues “what is it that we do?”

I thought I would illustrate this by discussing the upcoming ANZSOM conference in Adelaide in October. This conference is a collaboration between the Australian New Zealand Society of Occupational Medicine and the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

One of the substantial emerging issues is the recent detection of accelerated silicosis amongst workers cutting artificial kitchen benchtops composed of crystalline silica. This has very much blindsided occupational health and safety professionals, regulators and stakeholders.

Responding to this circumstance has involved the Faculty, College, Australian and New Zealand Thoracic Society, regulators, insurers and Commonwealth and State Governments.

Recalibrating and re-emphasising the needs for safe work methods, characterisation of exposure, implementing effective health surveillance, case finding as well as the need to provide support and management of injured workers and their families all emerge from this occupational disease.

Another important practice area is around work injury and work injury management. Associate Professor Gary Franklin, our invited international guest speaker, will talk about the issues of healthcare provision and innovation, the adverse influence of opioids on clinical as well as return-to-work outcomes, and with other speakers including Lorimer Moseley covering factors relating to chronic pain, disability, and return to work. At the workplace level, epidemiological research methods, impact of shift work and psychosocial factors in the work environment as well the effect of acute events in the workplace is also to be covered. Whilst not often thought of, vehicle design and safe operations are an important OEM issue.

The meeting reflects the broad nature of our discipline covering clinical, occupational health, workplaces, prevention, as well as the science and tools of occupational and environmental medicine. Attendance at our meeting is welcome to all who may be interested in the content, but also in networking with our group.

Peter Jezukaitis FAFOEM

AMA CV and interview skills night

Hackney Hotel, 2 April 2019

This event provided medical students with access to expert, individual, medical career advice to help with training  applications in hospitals, writing your resume or application(s) or brushing up on your interview skills.

The RACP table was busy all night answering questions and offering advice on career pathways and entry into the College.

A big thank you to Dr Daina Rudaks and Dr Mahsa Gieve for their encouragement and expert knowledge. It was invaluable experience for medical students in attendance.

AMA CV and Interview Skills Night

Save the date - crazy socks
Doctors Health SA - ad
Doctors for doctors ad

Upcoming events:

basic trainee page 2

SAVE THE DATE - SA Annual Scientific Meeting (SA-ASM)

The SA Regional Committee will be hosting a full day Annual Scientific Meeting on Saturday, 30 November 2019 at the Adelaide Convention Centre. The theme for the SA-ASM is Specialist Together.

Registrations for the SA-ASM will open in August so keep an eye out for further updates.

The SA-ASM will also incorporate the SA Trainee Research Awards for Excellence providing an opportunity for trainees to present their research abstracts.  Winning abstracts for paediatric and adult medicine trainee will be published in the International Medical Journal or Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health.   Winners are also invited to attend RACP Congress 2020 in Melbourne.

South Australian Trainees’ Committee – Expression of Interest

The SA Trainees’ Committee seeks enthusiastic and motivated paediatric, adult medicine, rehabilitation, occupational medicine and public health trainees to join the committee. This is a fantastic opportunity to get involved with post-graduate medical education and College representation.

Meeting four times per year, the committee is responsible for addressing educational and wellbeing issues that affect trainees across the state. We organise several annual educational events and are always looking for new ways to support and assist trainees.

This is not a time-consuming commitment and is very manageable while you prepare for exams. There is also the opportunity to extend your involvement to national level on various working-groups and committees. No prior experience is required and we welcome applicants from all stages of training.

For further information about the role please email Daina at or Yang Du at (Co-Chairs  SA Trainees’ Committee).


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 for trainees to present their research at a regional event. Trainees selected at each regional event will have the opportunity to present at RACP Congress 2020 in Melbourne.

Last year’s selected South Australian representative, Dr Jack Yu, presented on ‘Electronic medical records in a word document’ at the Research and Innovation Showcase at the recent RACP Congress 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand.

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

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 healthcare: 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:

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