South Australia — April 2018

A message from the South Australian (SA) State Committee Chair

As I write this, my thoughts go to choice, and how and why we choose.

In terms of the College I know that for some there is uncertainty about its role in our lives and how we identify with it.

We value our identity and credentials as physicians, and in this we might see ourselves predominantly as being part of a Specialty Society, Faculty or Chapter.

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians is the only body recognised by the Australian and New Zealand registering authorities as being able to credential doctors as specialist physicians in their various subspecialties through the granting of Fellowship, and it is the body which sets the requirements of Continuing Professional Development.

The RACP is part of our identity, and it is in our interest and our responsibility that its strength, status and the maintenance of standards are supported.

The College will continue to need to adapt as it has grown from a relatively small group of Clinicians who could largely manage the affairs of the College to a now very large membership.

There has also been a need to meet the increasing requirements from the Australian Medical Council to maintain recognition as the training body for physicians.

Goodwill and accountability starts with us all, it is what crafts a unified whole and holds together the disparate parts of our RACP.

Particularly this requires our willingness to engage and participate within the RACP as many of us already do, directly and through our specialty groups. We all have a role in the development of ways to make participation accessible and rewarding.

Fellowship can be particularly enriched by our engagement in delivering, participating and shaping teaching, training and our own ​continuing ​development. Much of this occurs within our specialty groups or institutions where we practice.

The SA Regional Committee seeks to foster a broader Fellowship engagement through a New Fellows Forum on Saturday, 1 September 2018 and an Annual Scientific Meeting on Saturday, 1 December 2018 which will incorporate the Trainee Research Awards for Excellence.

I encourage all fellows to support these events and look forward to your participation.

Dr Rob van den Berg
SA State Committee Chair

New trainees welcomed

Dr Robert van den Berg welcoming attendees

More than 60 first year trainees attended the Basic Physician Training Orientation at the RACP Adelaide office on Tuesday, 20 February 2018.  For many, it was their first introduction to the College and opportunity to meet other trainees.  

The new trainees heard from guest speakers, including:

  • Chair of the RACP South Australian Committee Dr Rob van den Berg (pictured, right)
  • Flinders Medical Centre Directors of Physician Education (DPE) Dr Suchi Grover and Dr Brian Coppin
  • Royal Adelaide Hospital DPE Associate Professor Mitra Guha
  • Lyell McEwin Hospital DPE Dr Krishnan Varikara
  • Women’s and Children’s Hospital DPE Dr David Baulderstone

An insightful presentation on trainee wellbeing was ​delivered by Co-Chair of the SA Trainees’ Committee, Dr Daina Rudaks. ​It gave trainees tools to create a good work life balance during their training.
Dr Samuel Ellison and Dr Carly Kiani presenting at the Basic Trainee Orientation

SA Trainees’ Committee members Dr Carly Kiani and Dr Samuel Ellison (pictured, right) then made a presentation about  approaches to training, hospital based learning and what to do and not do.

At the end of the presentations, trainees were able to stay and chat, and collect helpful resources provided by the College.​

​HIV prevention drug listing

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) recently recommended listing of HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) on the Pharmaceuticals Benefits Scheme (PBS) for HIV prevention.

In South Australia, there are currently over 550 people at risk of HIV infection, who are enrolled in the PrEPX-SA access trial funded by the South Australian government until Saturday, 30 June 2018. The South Australian Health ​and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) has been delivering the PrEPX-SA access trial in Adelaide since May 2017, in partnership with Alfred Health in Victoria, local general practitioners and sexual health clinics.

The PBAC recommendation means that general practitioners will be able to prescribe tenofovir with emtricitabine for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis for medium to high risk populations. This includes gay and bisexual men, as well as at risk Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, migrants from high HIV prevalence countries and some heterosexual populations. The PBAC decision stressed the importance of a comprehensive sexual health approach to HIV prevention, including safe sex practices and condom use.

The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations and Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine have produced a PrEP Fact Sheet for healthcare providers and patients in light of this recent development in HIV prevention. 

SA Health medicinal cannabis update

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has guidance documents to educate and inform health professionals who are interested in medicinal cannabis as a treatment for their patients.

Visit the SA Health website for updated information about prescribing medicinal cannabis in SA.

Election statement

The ​RACP released a South Australian State Election Statement prior to the election on Saturday, 17 March. It called on the incoming government to focus on key priorities and made specific policy recommendations on matters including vaccination, disability services, integrated care, digital health, ​indigenous health and high-value care. 

My Health Record My Health Record

My Health Record is a secure national online summary of a patients care that can be shared between the patient and any or all of their healthcare providers. The Australian Government announced in the 2017 budget the creation of a My Health Record for every Australian by the end of 2018, unless they choose not to have one.

The Adelaide Public Health Network (PHN) is involved in the My Health Record rollout and would like to advise you to start the registration process today. For assistance with the registration and implementation of My Health Record, please contact or if in country SA.

Combined Colleges expo

More than 60 medical students, interns and Resident Medical Officers (RMOs), attended the annual Combined College Career Expo at the Highway Inn on Wednesday, 7 March 2018. This event ​gives medical students and young doctors the opportunity  to get information ​about future career pathways.

SA Regional Committee member Dr Rabin Bhandari a​nd SA Trainee Committee members Dr Malithi Gamage and Dr Yang Du promoted the RACP and its programs. All were inundated with questions around the trade table from eager medical students wanting to find out more about the RACP training programs. 

Many thanks to Dr Bhandari, Dr Gamage and Dr Du for giving us their valuable time and expertise.

Update from the Deputy Chair, SA State Committee, Dr Rabin BhandariDr Rabin Bhandari

I was recently asked to give a quick talk to SA medical students at the 2018 Combined Colleges Expo Night.  Supposedly I was there to spruik the benefits of being a trainee via the RACP. Briefly I let them know that the RACP is a very big organisation, with many specialties and training pathways represented, not all of which require basic physician/paediatric training.

What I ended up talking about was vocational choices. Being an undergraduate is different from being a trainee doctor — the mundane tasks become far more apparent; the hours and pressure to perform are much more significant. When many medical students think about training, they immediately think of being hospital doctors. They often idolise a charismatic registrar who has taught them during their placements.

I asked these eager students to be less emotional and more forensic in their approach. Find out objective information from the colleges about what training entails, seek counsel from experienced doctors about what life is like after training, ask registrars what training is like from a personal perspective and try to estimate workforce gaps at the end of their training.

I also asked them to be honest with themselves of the non-vocational aspects of career choices: family life, money, perceived prestige, travel and being an employee or self-employed. All of this information would be available if they would ask and keep their eyes, ears, and minds open.

Focus on diagnostic errors in medicine

In each South Australian eBulletin, a member of the SA Regional Committee will examine an issue, or issues, affecting the medical community. In this eBulletin, Dr Anupam Datta Gupta discusses diagnosis errors in medicine. Dr Datta Gupta is a Fellow of the Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, consultant physician in ​rehabilitation medicine at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Senior Lecturer at the University of Adelaide. 

Patient care in any medical discipline involves making the correct diagnosis and formulating the treatment plan. Diagnostic errors are considered to be one of the commonest cause of preventable patient harm (both morbidity and mortality). Diagnostic error is defined as a delayed, missed or wrong diagnosis. Though the exact epidemiology is not known, it is estimated to be 10-15%.

Diagnostic errors are prevalent across the clinical disciplines being most common in emergency medicine, family medicine and internal medicine whereas lower in radiology or pathology. Despite these facts the diagnostic errors are understudied and under emphasised in medicine.

There has been a resurgent interest in preventing diagnostic errors in patient safety. The main causes of diagnostic errors are physician’s own cognitive biases or thinking error and system errors.

Dr Datta Gupta's annotated bibliography on this topic can be downloaded from the RACP website.

Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP) Workshops 

Dates and locations of upcoming SPDP Workshops are listed in the table below.


Date and Time




Monday, 9 April

5pm to 8pm

Royal Adelaide Hospital

Seminar Room 2, Level 7, D Block Room 7D252

Dr Emily Rowe & Dr Graham Norton


Tuesday, 15 May

RACP Office

257 Melbourne Street

North Adelaide

Dr David Everett & Dr Scott Sypek


Thursday 14 June

RACP Office

257 Melbourne Street

North Adelaide

Associate Professor Ray Russo


If you would like further details about upcoming ​workshops, or to book a workshop, please email To become an SPDP Facilitator please email

Please note:

Online SPDP workshops are available ​for people who ​cannot attend in person.  For more details and workshop content please go to the RACP website.

Health and wellbeing resources

The RACP recognise​s the importance of supporting the health and wellbeing of medical practitioners. Maintaining healthy mental, physical and social wellbeing ensures specialists can practice effectively throughout their careers, including during training.

In collaboration with partners across the sector, the RACP developed a range of resources to support the health and wellbeing of physicians. You can view the health and wellbeing resources on the RACP website

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