South Australia - April 2020

A message from your South Australian Regional Committee Chair

Our lives are rapidly changing as we try to cope with and adapt to COVID-19. This is a crisis of such magnitude that there will be things that will never be the same again.

Telemedicine has become entrenched and perhaps the norm for many. Remote learning (teleconferencing) and working from home has similarly become normalised. The severe disruption of our economy and employment has strained our social fabric and significant morbidity and mortality will change the medical and social landscape.

The impact of deferred examinations and uncertainty about progression of training and appointments for 2021 are complex and difficult problems which I know are subject of active work by many in the College together with Health Departments and others.

We as people and physicians are being challenged and we need to support each other as we move through this crisis, and also in shaping the future.

The College is our collective professional representative and is playing a key role in this. This can only occur thru our engagement. The South Australian Regional Committee is positioned as a major conduit for Fellows to and from our College structure. To be effective we need more Fellows from all of our Divisions, Faculties and Chapters to become involved and we welcome you to do so.

College activities in South Australia and many College events and activities have been affected. A coronavirus webpage has been set up to keep all this information in one place. 

The webpage covers:

  • Congress being moved online for 2020
  • the postponement of the clinical exams  
  • the postponement of Convocation Ceremony planned for Melbourne in May
  • moving all face-to-face committee meetings to videoconferences.

As well as supporting each other, I have been asked to remind you of other options: 

  • The RACP support program is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is free, independent and confidential (the College is never told names of who contacts them). Online resources are also available from the link above.
  • Doctors Health SA offer a helpline for doctors needing urgent confidential support: call them on 8366 0250, and the link above provides some COVID-19 specific resources and supports.
  • DRS4DRS are recommended by Doctors Health SA and have online resources.
  • Beyond Blue - Health Service Program provides support for a range of health professionals.

I hope you and your families all stay safe during this challenging time.  Your College is here to support you – reach out to one of the SA Regional Committee members or your Member Support Officer, Lana Rohde in the SA/NT Regional Office.

Dr Rob van den Berg MMBS FRACP
SA Regional Committee Chair

A message from the SA Trainees’ Committee Co-Chairs

Welcome to the 2020 training year and congratulations to all new Basic Trainees on joining the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. It is clear that this year will be different to others for all of us, individually, as colleagues, and as friends. As we see changes in society, workplaces and around the world, it’s an important time to ensure that despite these changes we are looking after ourselves and each other.

The South Australian Trainees’ Committee will continue to advocate for you behind the scenes as we also put your questions regarding the impact of COVID-19 to the forefront of College discussions. If you have particular concerns or questions, please feel free to contact us.

Our Basic Training Orientation Night was again well attended and we will continue to host events across the year, though for now these will be delivered by webinars. We hope that in fact this may allow more of you to call in for a short period, as your busy schedules allow.

We wish everyone the very best for 2020.
Daina and Yang

Dr Daina RudaksDr Yang Du       

Dr Daina Rudaks and Dr Yang Timothy Du
SA Trainees’ Committee Co-Chairs

College Bodies expressions of interest open

Expressions of Interest (EOI) are now open across all of our College Bodies for various positions on councils and committees. View listings for more information on the positions on offer.

You are invited to express your interest in the below categories:

College updates

COVID-19 Impact on College Activities

The virus is impacting the world around us in unprecedented ways, and the College has responded, changing the way it operates. The government directives are being followed. Also, as you likely know, the College has established an expert clinical reference group comprising experts from infectious disease, respiratory medicine, geriatric medicine, public health and occupational and environment medicine. These clinicians have provided advice to the College on the appropriate response given the situation in Australia and New Zealand.

In South Australia, the work of the College has been impacted in these ways:

  • All College committee meetings and events are now held via videoconference, supported by staff in the regional office.
  • College staff are unable to travel on College business, and instead join all interstate events/meetings by videoconference from Adelaide.
  • The SA/NT regional office staff cannot currently travel to the NT to support our members there on the ground.
  • Lana Rohde, our Member Support Officer will not be attending Grand Rounds and other hospital-based events.
  • The office has been closed to members, and all staff are working from home.

The good news is that you can continue to contact the regional office staff in the same way as always, by email or phone 8465 0970, as they work from home.

Training in regional Australia: A shared experience of moving from a metro acute care hospital

Dr Kirsty Neal, Advanced Trainee, Alice Springs Hospital

Tell us about yourself and why you’re in Alice Springs

I'm a final year Endocrine Advanced Trainee and have just commenced work at Alice Springs Hospital as an Endocrine Registrar. I didn't go looking for a job in Alice Springs, rather, I stumbled upon the job.

It didn't occur to me that a position outside the main tertiary hospitals on the Eastern (or Western) seaboard would offer a position that would contribute to my training program. I am passionate about Indigenous health, practising sustainable medicine and want to learn different aspects of healthcare delivery that can't be taught in capital city tertiary hospitals. Such as the challenges that face remote and marginalised communities.

My husband and I had to find reasons not to come to Alice Springs. The place is beautiful, with all sorts of outdoor wonders to explore, a diverse cultural richness and an active and supportive community. We have two young girls and are conscious of giving them a rounded upbringing including teaching them different ways of being and living, cultural acceptance and understanding. What better place?

What is the most rewarding aspect of your role?

Effective communication is probably the most rewarding aspect, and also the most challenging part of my role (and hopefully not unique to me).  A major part of our job is listening and educating. We cannot fix everyone, but helping someone understand their condition and effectively explaining management options can make a big difference to patient satisfaction and quality of life. The gratitude from patients when they feel like their concerns are being listened to is very rewarding. I am constantly working on this, even more so now, learning to communicate with our Indigenous community. I am actively learning about Aboriginal history and culture through books, documentaries and local knowledge to better understand, communicate and build relationships.

What is it about your work that makes you want to get out of bed each morning?

I like the variety of consults, the interesting medicine and pathology unique to central Australia and I work with a lot of very inspirational people, both colleagues and patients. I also enjoy developing relationships with patients and as clichéd as it sounds, I like helping people feel better.

What does a typical day at work look like for you? 

Handover at 8am, consults in the morning, clinic in the afternoon (or the other way around). Scattered in between with letter writing, presentations and teaching, and journal clubs. I usually leave work on time.

How do you manage work/life balance? 

I like to prioritise leaving work on time to see my girls. Occasionally this means working after they've gone to bed. My husband and I try to arrange babysitting every now and again to ensure we have quality time together. We aim to exercise five times a week (often taking it in turns, occasionally with barge (aka 'double pram') in tow) and to have outdoor activities on weekends such as bushwalking and playdates (no playdates at the moment, of course). Previously in Sydney I did not have a good work-life balance - I did not see the girls most weekdays as I left for work before they were awake and returned when they were in bed. Moving to Alice Springs has eliminated the three-hour daily commute and I have way more time. I even get an extra hour of sleep, which is pure heaven.

Are there any patient success stories that you can share?

The successes come in the form of developing relationships, trust and rapport with patients. In turn (and in time), hopefully this leads to improved health outcomes and quality of life and strengthens our community and intercultural bonds. This takes time and I have only been here seven weeks. Watch this space.

Doctors can access confidential, trusted support for their own healthcare

Finding support for your own healthcare can be challenging. The barriers that doctors experience is unique, in comparison to the general public.

The ability to take time away from a busy professional life, concern for confidentiality and mandatory reporting, as well finding a supportive, experienced doctor for doctors, all impacts on doctors seeking care. The barriers are greater for rural and remote doctors with geographical isolation preventing access to independent medical care.

In South Australia and the Northern Territory, a doctors' only health service exists to remove those barriers in an effort to provide a health and wellbeing program in a supportive environment. Physicians in South Australia and the Northern Territory can access the 24 hours, seven days a week urgent advice line operated by long time experienced doctors for doctors (phone 8366 0250).

In South Australia, there is the GP Clinic for doctors only. There are also GPs who see doctors as patients as part of the doctors’ health network of doctors for doctors. This is available in both South Australia and the Northern Territory.

For further information visit the Doctors Health SA and Doctors Health NT websites.

Alice Springs Hospital celebrates end-of-term differently from other parts of the world

simon articleAlice Springs Hospital celebrates end-of-term differently from other parts of the world. The registrars are caught between the Tropic of Capricorn just 30km to the north, and the cold winds from the south, and this term they decided to celebrate another great experience in Central Australia by wearing cowboy hats and tropical shirts on their last Friday.

As always, it was a great bunch of registrars who all contributed tirelessly to working for our community, in a hospital where over ten languages are spoken on ward rounds every day. Many learned to pronounce organs like the heart in some of the most ancient words still spoken on the planet – loco-loco in Warlpiri for instance, but all of them missed the mighty Todd River which came to life with a bellyful of water the day after they all left.

The new registrars feel like they have been welcomed by all of this rain at least. The old lot departed having all seen first-hand the great challenges of inequity in Aboriginal Australia, and many of them want to return to contribute some more.

Alice Springs Hospital is always looking for the best of the best registrars and has a wide range of basic and advanced training positions in general and sub-specialty medicine. Please contact the DPE if you are interested.

Dr Simon Quilty

Financial stimulus packages

Hood Sweeney

Economic updates have come thick and fast from the State and Federal Governments as the COVID-19 health crisis threatens businesses, jobs and global economies. Hood Sweeney is keeping on top of the announcements and we are here to decipher the information and assist you or your business with solutions.

If you have questions about the stimulus packages, or need information around business continuity, cash flow, finance and investments, workforce issues or Technology services, please ring Hood Sweeney on 1300 764 200 or send us an email. For some of the measures already announced, visit our website.

Awards, honours and recognitions

Australia Day Honours

Congratulations to the two South Australian Fellows who have been recognised in the 2020 Australia Day Honours list. The Australian Honours system is the nations’ way of acknowledging and celebrating extraordinary individuals, those who have served their communities and achieved amazing things.  We are extremely proud of our members’ accomplishments.

Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia: Associate Professor Sanghamitra (Mitra) Guha FRACP for significant service to medicine and to medical education

Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division: Dr Sadanand Limaye FRACP for service to medicine and to the multicultural community

Recipient of the South Australian Trainee Research Awards 2019

Congratulations to the recipient of the 2019 South Australian Trainee Research Award in Adult Medicine, Dr Stephen Bacchi, who presented on Deep Learning Natural Language Processing Successfully Predicts the Cerebrovascular Cause of Transient Ischemic Attack-Like Presentations.

Stephen is a first-year Basic Trainee at the Royal Adelaide Hospital with an interest in clinical applications of machine learning and currently the primary investigator in several research projects aiming to use machine learning to help predict clinically significant outcomes.

The Trainee Research Awards were held as part of the SA ASM on 30 November 2012 at the Adelaide Convention Centre. Our judges were:

  • Professor Paul Komesaroff, President, Adult Medicine Division, RACP
  • Professor Paul Colditz, President, Paediatrics and Child Health Division, RACP
  • Professor Steve Wesselingh, Executive Director of SAHMRI

The other presenters were:

  • Dr Lih En Hong: Mutational landscape of myelodysplastic syndrome in patients with autoimmune rheumatological disorders
  • Dr Mahsa Gieve: Evaluation of reliability of LVEF assessment by left ventriculography and echocardiography in STEMI patients undergoing primary percutaneous coronary intervention
  • Dr Patricia Kaazan: Infliximab-associated weight gain, patterns, associations and financial implications

Pictured left to right: Associate Professor Mark Lane (RACP President), Dr Patricia Kaazan, Dr Rob van den Berg (SA Regional Committee Chair), Dr Stephen Bacchi, Professor Paul Colditz (Paediatrics & Child Health Division President), Professor Steve Wesselingh (Executive Director of SAHMRI), Dr Mahsa Gieve, Professor Paul Komesaroff (Adult Medicine Division President), Dr Lih En Hong.

RACP South Australia Member Support Officer update

lanaHi, I’m Lana Rohde, your local RACP Member Support Officer. I recently had the pleasure of meeting many new Basic Trainees at orientation events across Adelaide, including at Lyell McEwin and Women’s and Children’s Hospitals.

The largest orientation I attended was held at the RACP SA/NT Regional office, where new trainees learnt about the College training program requirements, covering important dates, assessment tools and where to access further resources or support.

Trainees had the opportunity network together, meet Directors of Physician/Paediatric Education and receive a RACP goodie bag including further useful information, a RACP drink bottle and a USB loaded with many resources to help support their training journey.

Some events for trainees to look forward to include:

As your College contact, please contact me with any questions you have. You can continue to reach me on the same details as always. By phone 08 8465 0971 or email.

I look forward to (virtually) seeing you at upcoming events,

Lana Rhode.

Upcoming events

Virtual Basic Training Exam Preparation and Panel

You are invited to the Virtual Basic Training Exam Preparation and Panel workshop on Tuesday, 12 May from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. This is a great opportunity to hear tips and advice for managing exam pressures and stress, benefits associated with being assessed and effective study strategies

The session will be held by Dr Simon Rocheleau (Adult Medicine, Royal Adelaide Hospital) and Dr Antonia Chan (Paediatrics & Child Health, Women's and Children's Hospital). The Trainees’ Committee will join our presenters to form a panel to answer all of your questions.


Recent Events

CPD Information Session

On 26 and 27 February, there were CPD Information Sessions held at the College SA/NT Regional Office in Adelaide about the new CPD Framework. Members also joined by videoconference from Darwin, Alice Springs and rural NSW.

Dr Rob van den Berg (Chair, SA Regional Committee) was MC and two staff from Sydney head office presented. Michael Pooley from Member Learning and Development talked about the background to the Medical Board’s changes and the resources provided by the College to assist with meeting the new requirements. He spoke about the new category, Reviewing Performance and Measuring Outcomes. He took members through the online MyCPD Interactive Handbook and showed how to access the many resources it contains.

Shona Black, who manages the CPD Unit, answered questions about the type of evidence needed for recording CPD activities. Members took the opportunity to ask questions about their individual situations, and answers were provided by Michael, Shona or Rob.

Since these information sessions, and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the College has introduced accommodations for those members whose 2019 CPD is currently incomplete. 

In summary, these accommodations are:

  • Late submission and alternative submission fees waived.
  • All records closed 31 March as scheduled, but on 3 April all incomplete records were given a complementary extension until 31 July.
  • The CPD Unit is investigating other ways the College can support members to meet their 2019 CPD requirements.
  • The College is talking with regulators regarding 2020 CPD requirements, and once more is known the College will communicate with the membership.

SA Basic Training Orientation

BTFirst year trainees attended an Orientation Session at the RACP SA/NT Regional Office on 25 February.  For many, it was their first introduction to the College and the opportunity to meet and network with other Basic Trainees.

The audience had the opportunity to listen to a range of guest speakers including Co-Chair of the RACP South Australian Trainees’ Committee, Dr Daina Rudaks. DPEs also spoke at the event, including Dr Josephine Thomas and Dr Alice O’Connell (Royal Adelaide Hospital), Dr Jessica Hafner (The Queen Elizabeth Hospital), Dr Krishnan Varikara (Lyell McEwin Hospital), Dr Suchi Grover and Dr Brian Coppin (Flinders Medical Centre), and Dr David Baulderstone (Women’s and Children’s Hospital). They welcomed new Basic Trainees, encouraged their commitment and provided an overview of their expectations.

Dr Roger Sexton from Doctors Health SA provided an entertaining presentation on maintaining your health as a doctor and provided tips to ensure you sustain a healthy work-life balance.

Lana Rohde, your RACP Member Support Officer provided a goodie bag of useful resources and presented an overview of the College’s requirements for the Basic Training program. Lana explained where trainees can access support and further resources from the College website throughout training.

The final presentation for the night was by Dr Daina Rudaks, presenting on behalf of the SA Trainees’ Committee. Daina provided the audience with information on approaches to training, and shared her experience of ‘what to do and not to do’.  The SA Trainees’ Committee also provided an extensive list of learning resources they found useful with their studies. The evening concluded with an opportunity for members to have their questions answered by members of the Trainees' Committee.

Supervisor workshops

This year we have already held several workshops for the Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP) at the RACP SA/NT Regional Office. This wouldn’t have been possible without our facilitators who give so generously of their time. I would like to extend a big thank you to facilitators, Dr David Everett, Dr Graham Norton and Dr Venugopal Kochiyil who have supported these events with enthusiasm.

In light of recent health guidelines on the spread of COVID-19, all face-to-face SPDP workshops scheduled for the foreseeable future have been cancelled. Where possible, workshops will be virtual and offered via Zoom. To see all currently scheduled workshops, please visit the SPDP webpage.

If you have completed at least one supervisor workshop in the past and would like to become a facilitator, we have  training coming up this August in Alice Springs (location may be virtual pending the current coronavirus situation). Please email Supervisor Learning Unit to register you interest.

Specialist Medical Colleges Careers Expo

expoSpecialist medical colleges gathered at Morphettville Racecourse on 4 March for a speed-dating like event to promote their respective Colleges.

Dr Rabin Bhandari did a great job spruiking the RACP in his presentation while South Australian Trainees’ Committee members Dr Daina Rudaks, Dr Allyssa Fitzpatrick and Dr James Johnston staffed the heavily visited RACP table, They provided medical students and post graduates with a run-down of the RACP requirements.

A big thank you to Dr Rabin Bhandari, Dr Daina Rudaks, Dr Alyssa Fitzpatrick and Dr James Johnston and for representing the College at the event.

We are preparing to deliver Congress 2020 to you online

So you can still learn from each other, engage with experts and your peers and contribute to the conversation we are now preparing to deliver Congress online. RACP Congress 2020 Balancing Medical Science with Humanity online program will explore the theme and deliver shared sessions and selected stream sessions for you to access from your computer or device.

You will be able to watch orations, interact with experts through webinars and listen and contribute to panel discussions via podcasts.

Details about the sessions and how you can access the program will be announced soon.

Online Supervisors Professional Development Program (SPDP) workshops

The Practical Skills for Supervisors workshop incorporates the overarching themes of developing trainee expertise and using coaching techniques to improve feedback practise. 

This workshop focuses on delivering feedback using two frameworks, the GROW model and the four areas of feedback. By using these models, supervisors can facilitate change and growth in trainees towards expert performance.

The session topics are:

  • developing a culture for learning
  • providing feedback and improving performance
  • delivering feedback in challenging situations


Pomegranate podcast: The art of telehealth

COVID-19 has left few people around the world unaffected, and health practitioners are among those at the top of the list. Their daily and intimate service to the public inevitably puts them at risk of catching the virus, while social distancing precautions can compromise the work they do. Dreadful as the viral disease is, the bigger consequences of the pandemic may be on the disruption to routine healthcare.

Consulting patients by video or phone can be a way to keep healthcare ticking over, but many doctors are nervous as they adopt it for the first time. In this podcast we go over some of the bureaucratic and tech support questions that clinicians have been asking during the current crisis. We also discuss the art of building trust with new patients, and conducting a physical examination through telehealth.

The guest speakers are oncologist Sabe Sabesan and paediatrician Michael Williams, who’ve been pioneering telehealth outreach to rural and remote Queensland for more than a decade.

Listen now

Discover your online learning options today

We understand you’re busy and on-the go, so discover our quality online education. Access a range of online learning courses, resources, lectures, curated collections and podcasts which have all been developed by members, for members. The interactive nature of our online learning resources enable you to learn from your peers. Accessible anywhere and optimised for mobile on-the-go learning, RACP Online Learning Resources are free for members and count towards CPD requirements

Access today

End-of-Life Q Stream

Fellows can claim CPD credits by completing the Online Professionalism Program (OPP)

Looking for another effective avenue to claim CPD credits? We recommend considering OPP. OPP is an evidence-based, spaced online learning program. The program has been demonstrated in randomised trials to improve knowledge acquisition, boost retention, change on-the-job behaviours and improve patient outcomes.

OPP delivers short and practical case studies right to your inbox, and feature multiple-choice questions. These case studies are created by a Working Group whose experience is in the relevant field or topic. Each multiple-choice question takes about five minutes to complete, with an opportunity to re-attempt each question if answered incorrectly.

These questions are framed in clinical scenarios and are designed to encourage critical thinking. Each question links to a discussion forum for participants to engage in conversation about each case study. This is in acknowledgement that there is not always a right or wrong answer.

On 16 March 2020, the RACP’s Continuous Learning team launched the End-ofLife Care OPP Course to over 40 participants. The End-of-Life Care Course is designed to enhance physician’s skills with end-of-life and advance care planning.

The End-of-Life Care Course is comprised of 11 multiple-choice questions which will take participants three to four weeks to complete. Participants can claim CPD credits (one credit per hour) in Category 1: Educational Activities, for the time they spend on this resource.

If you are interested in the current End-of-Life Care course or future OPP courses, please register your interest by emailing

Insurance implications of genetic testing survey

In 2017, Monash University surveyed health professionals regarding their knowledge, experience and views regarding the life insurance implications of genetic testing. In 2019, policy in this area changed, and we are keen to understand whether, and if so how, things have changed. You are eligible if you are a qualified health professional (other than a general practitioner) working in Australia or Aotearoa New Zealand who has direct contact (by telephone or in person) with clients who are considering genetic testing.

Please complete this important survey. It should not take longer than 10-15 minutes to complete, and can be anonymous. The findings of this project will contribute to a policy response to the Australian government regarding the current situation, and your participation will assist with gathering critical data in this space. For any queries regarding this research, please contact Jane Tiller

Complete the survey

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the opening hours of the SA/NT Regional Office?

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. This is unchanged as staff work from home due to COVID-19 measures.

Where is the SA/NT Regional Office located?

The SA/NT Regional Office is currently closed to members and staff are currently working from home. However, the address is: Suite 7, Level 2, 257 Melbourne Street, North Adelaide SA 5006

What is the contact number for the SA/NT Regional Office?

You can reach our office on 08 8465 0970 or Member Services on 1300 697 227.

Where can I park at the SA/NT Regional Office?

Two hour street parking is available in Melbourne Street and all-day parking opposite the Old Lion Hotel (fees apply).

How do I book a meeting?

Although the office is currently closed due to COVID-19, we can assist you with booking virtual meetings. Please email us or call 08 8465 0970.

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