South Australia - August 2021

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Welcome to the August edition of the South Australian eBulletin.

We are pleased to announce the RACP South Australian Annual Scientific Meeting (SA ASM) will be held face-to-face on Saturday, 30 October. We have a strong program planned, under the theme 'Strength in diversity', which highlights the strength our diverse membership brings to the clinical world and to the College. It will be a fantastic opportunity to reconnect and network with your colleagues in person.

The SA ASM will be a great day with cutting-edge presentations from the wealth of expertise we are lucky enough to have in South Australia. You will hear the latest trainee research, designed to challenge conventional thinking. Topics are as broad as scleroderma, pain, cardiovascular, polypharmacy and deprescribing, and aged care. One of the highlights is the session on the South Australian response to COVID-19 testing and the vaccine.

You’ll also see some of the best research at the judging of the South Australian RACP Trainee Research Awards. Applications for these prestigious awards for trainees and first year Fellows are open until Monday, 30 August and you can read more about this opportunity to get recognised for your research in the article included in this eBulletin.

As part of the ASM, we will also be launching a new event – the Physicians' Roundtable. It's a panel discussion on a topical issue that needs the strength of our diverse membership to solve. We'll then end the day with a great networking event.

All South Australian members, medical students and Overseas Trained Physicians are encouraged to register for the SA ASM. There are contingency plans in place, where the event will be held virtually if needed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Would you like to get more involved with the College? The expressions of interest webpage currently has opportunities in a broad range of areas including accreditation, education, exam marking, research project marking, policy and advocacy, diversity advisory, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation, to name a few. Have a look and see where your skills and experience could make a difference in the life of the College.

Your South Australian team are here to support you. Your College office in North Adelaide has three staff dedicated to supporting the work of the College. Please contact the team if there is something you would like the College to know or some assistance you need. The team can be contacted by email or by phoning 08 8465 0970.

A message from the South Australian Trainees’ Committee Co-Chairs

Despite the months getting cooler, the South Australian Trainees’ Committee has been warming up. We recently attended the South Australian College Careers’ Expo to encourage prevocational trainees to consider training with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. We also recently held our Basic Trainee Preparation panel, with guest speakers Dr Catherine Wilkes and Dr Sam Ellison, to assist the pre-exam trainees in working towards their Divisional Clinical Exam and the Divisional Written Exam.  

We are looking forward to the next few months, where we will be commencing the Basic Training Lecture Series to provide further content for pre-written exam trainees – stay tuned for details. The South Australian Trainees’ Committee continues engaging with trainees, as well as the College Trainees' Committee and South Australian Regional Committee to support the implementation of the College’s flexible training and fairness into selection into training policies. As always, we welcome input and feedback from all trainees on these and other crucial training issues.

The shadow of COVID-19 looms long, and we understand that there remains anxiety regarding the potential impact of COVID-19 on the upcoming Divisional Clinical Examination. Alongside the College, we are here to support South Australian trainees, so please reach out to us if we can be of assistance.

Wishing all pre-exam trainees, the best of luck for their upcoming examinations.

Best wishes,

Alyssa and James

A Fitzpatrick - NT Trainees' Committee Co-Chairs

J Johnston - NT Trainees Committee Co-Chairs

Dr Alyssa Fitzpatrick and Dr James Johnston
South Australian Trainees’ Committee Co-Chairs

Local events supported by your Member Support Officer

Hi, I'm Jake Sawyer, your College Member Support Officer. I am covering for Lana Rohde while she takes some time off to become a mum.

I am your primary local contact for trainees with specific questions for the College, or who need assistance with College-related matters such as registration and application approval, website navigation and general College orientation.

I also welcome trainees and Fellows to approach me with any ideas for workshops, webinars, or events that can assist trainees to better prepare for exams. I can help facilitate these ideas to transform them into tangible events. If you do have any ideas for events, please contact me.

Upcoming events

We are busy planning the following events, with details to be confirmed in the coming months:

  • Basic Training Lecture Series | August and September, dates to be confirmed
  • The National New Fellows' Forum | Tuesday, 19 October | Read more below
  • Mid-year Basic Training Orientations | Date to be confirmed
  • Training hospital visits | Date to be confirmed.

I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible at upcoming events. Please do not hesitate to get in contact with me if there are any College-related matters that I can assist you with.

Supervisor Professional Development Program

In 2017, the College mandated that all education supervisors must complete one Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP) workshop by the end of 2021 and all three by 2022. With the deadline fast approaching, both the NT and SA are well-placed to meet the mandate. For those who are yet to complete a workshop, please enrol in workshop via the SPDP webpage.

We are planning to hold a series of face-to-face workshops later this year. However, this is dependent on COVID-19 restrictions at the time. The workshops may therefore need to be held online instead, via Zoom. Once dates have been confirmed with facilitators, the workshops will be advertised on the SPDP webpageevents webpage and included in the monthly RACP Events Digest, sent to you on the first Wednesday of each month.

Find out more and register

SPDP workshops are facilitated by Fellows who generously volunteer their time. I would like to thank the following people for their time and contribution:

  • Professor Martin Veysey
  • Dr Emma Spencer
  • Dr David Holden
  • Dr Carole Khaw.

Recent events

Basic physician training information session

The South Australian Directors of Physician Education held an information session via zoom for JMO’s and medical students who are interested in gaining employment in one of the local health networks and then entering the Basic Physician Training program.

The session was attended by over 40 people and they received some very valuable information on what the local health networks would be looking for in prospective employees.

Thank you very much to the local DPE’s listed below for organising and running a valuable information session for the aspiring physicians!

  • Dr Alice O’Connell
  • Dr Krishnan Varikara
  • Dr Suchi Grover
  • Dr Jessica Haffner
  • Associate Professor Josephine Thomas
  • Dr David Baulderstone
  • Dr Mark Morton

Basic Training exam preparation and panel workshop

On behalf of the South Australian and Northern Territory Trainees' Committees, a Basic Training exam preparation and panel workshop was held via Zoom. Presentations were made by Advanced Trainees; Dr Sam Ellison (Paediatrics & Child Health Medicine) and Dr Cat Wilkes (Adult Medicine), who both reflected on their time as Basic Trainees. They provided great insight on how to study and achieve work-life-balance while doing so. The workshop then split into adult medicine and paediatric and child health panels for specific Divisional Exam advice. The workshop was well-attended and well-received.

I would like to thank the following people who volunteered their time to make it a successful event:

  • Dr Alyssa Fitzpatrick, South Australian Trainees' Committee Co-chair
  • Dr Hannah Bills, Northern Territory Trainees' Committee Co-chair
  • Dr Alice Rogers, South Australian Trainees' Committee member
  • Dr Sam Ellison
  • Dr Cat Wilkes.

Specialist Medical Colleges Careers Night Expo

Specialist Medical Colleges Careers Night ExpoI was also privileged to be the College representative at the recent Specialist Colleges Careers Expo held at the Morphettvile racecourse. I was joined on the booth by several members.

The RACP booth proved, once again, to be popular with medical students. Strong interest was shown in all the College has to offer, particularly Paediatric and Child Health Medicine. I would like to thank the following for volunteering their time to share their experiences and speak with the medical students and answer the many questions that came their way:

  • Dr Alyssa Fitzpatrick, South Australian Trainees' Committee Co-chair
  • Dr Daina Rudaks, South Australian Trainees' Committee member
  • Dr Dyah Dharmeswari
Jake Sawyer

Jake Sawyer
SA/NT Member Support Officer
0488 466 422


The RACP Trainee Research Awards

Applications close Tuesday, 31 August 2021, 5pm AEST

South Australian 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 NSW/ACT Regional Office.

Find out more

The RACP National New Fellows' Forum 2021

Date: Tuesday, 19 October 2021
Time: 7pm – 8.30pm AEDT
Where: 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.

Register now

Honours, awards and recognition

The RACP South Australian Regional Office would like to congratulate the following South Australian members for the following achievements:

2021 Queen's Birthday Honours lists

These Honours highlight the outstanding work RACP members do and the importance of that work in local, national and international communities.

Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia

Dr Patrick (Toby) Coates FRACP 
For distinguished service to renal medicine, to professional medical organisations, and to tertiary education.

Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia

Professor Philip Aylward FRACP 
For significant service to medicine, and to community health administration.

Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia

Dr Richard Willing FRACP 
For service to conservation and the environment.

Public Service Medal (PSM) 

Professor Nicola Spurrier FAFPHM, FRACP
For outstanding public service to community health in South Australia.

Eric Susman Prize 2021 recipient

The Eric Susman Prize is a prestigious award presented by the College for best contribution to the knowledge of any branch of internal medicine (adult medicine and paediatrics). Nominations are now open and close Tuesday, 31 August.

prashanthan-sandersProfessor Prashanthan Sanders
Professor Prashanthan Sanders is a clinician-scientist at the University of Adelaide and the Royal Adelaide Hospital. He is a clinical and academic electrophysiologist. Professor Sandersis undertook his cardiology training at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, electrophysiology and doctoral training at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, before taking up a postdoctoral training in Bordeaux, France. He established an internationally-recognised electrophysiology laboratory and research group that is at the forefront of strategies for the treatment and management of atrial fibrillation. His group’s work has been instrumental in establishing the role of risk factor management in atrial fibrillation.

John Sands Medal 2021 recipient

The John Sands Medal recognises a Fellow who makes a significant contribution to the welfare of the RACP. This award provides an opportunity to recognise the substantial and influential contribution the award recipient has made. Nominations are now open and close Tuesday, 14 September.

crawfordProfessor Gregory Crawford
Professor Gregory Crawford is a long-standing contributor to the RACP. He has been involved with the Australasian Chapter of Palliative Medicine (AChPM) Education Committee for 8 years and currently has an ongoing 5-year involvement with the AChPM, which included his Presidency from 2018 to 2020. Gregory is currently on the RACP Council and has also held several other College positions. He has advocated for palliative medicine and has collaborated with many stakeholders to ensure optimal care is provided for all in our communities.

RACP Research Establishment Fellowships 2021 recipients

Research Establishment Fellowships 2021 recipients


Barbara Cameron Australian Rheumatology Association (ARA) Research Establishment Fellowship ($50,000)

Associate Professor Mihir Wechalekar
‘Improving outcomes in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): Investigating mechanisms of biologic disease-modifying drug response, or lack thereof, by an integrated genomic and biological marker approach’


Cottrell Research Establishment Fellowship ($75,000)

Associate Professor Christopher Xin Jie Wong
‘Effect of iron repletion in symptomatic patients with atrial fibrillation’




Servier Staff 'Barry Young' Research Establishment Fellowship ($50,000)

Dr Craig Wallington-Beddoe
‘Triggering a new cell death mechanism termed ferroptosis in aggressive B-cell malignancies’



Congratulations to the RACP Trainee of the Year 2021: Dr Davina Buntsma

The RACP Trainee of the Year prize recognises a trainee who has made an outstanding contribution to the College, the community and/or trainee activities. We would like to congratulate Dr Davina Buntsma, Chair of the College Trainees' Committee for being the 2021 recipient.

davina-buntsmaDr Davina Buntsma is a dual Advanced Trainee in General Paediatrics and Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, with a strong interest in Indigenous health. She completed her training through The Royal Children’s Hospital, Western Health, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and Royal Darwin Hospital. Dr Buntsma is recognised for her significant contribution and impact in supporting and improving education and training as Chair of the College Trainees’ Committee among other roles at the College. She is motivated by supporting junior doctors and believes the College has a powerful responsibility for physician trainee education, wellbeing and leadership development.

We would also like to congratulate all recipients of College and Congress prizes from across the College, as published in our other communications. You can find out more about these opportunities and recipients on the RACP Foundation website.

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Opportunities with RACP Foundation

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.

Find out more

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.

Find out more

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.

Find out more

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.

Find out more

Everything you want to know about My Health Record: Q&A with subject matter experts

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

Register now

New RACP video series highlights physicians in remote Australian communities

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.

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RACP Member Satisfaction Survey – closing date extended

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 You should have also received a reminder email from them on Friday, 13 August. If you didn’t receive these emails, contact us. Further information about the survey is available on the RACP website.  

Find out more

SA Health Update

Don’t forget to register for ScriptCheckSA

It is expected that it will become mandatory to use ScriptCheckSA next year. To support you, SA Health is providing you with free online training so you can access real-time information to help you make safer decisions when prescribing or dispensing monitored drugs.This training has been tailored for the specific needs of prescribers. 

For more information and to register for the free online training, please visit the ScriptCheckSA website. If you have any questions, please contact SA Health.

Real Time Prescription Monitoring Project Team, SA Health

Health and wellbeing: How are you?

Studies show that doctors are more hesitant to access support services than the average person due to a fear of appearing weak or incompetent. Did you know the College has a wealth of free resources to support member wellbeing?

The wellbeing webpage has plenty of options to support you, or for you to support a colleague. There are several services that offer 24/7 confidential phone support, strategies for self-care, eLearning resources and podcasts. Doctors Health SA also offers other doctors who provide support.

You can access stories RACP members have shared, outlining their personal mental health journeys, in the hope of reducing the stigma.

Help is available in many ways. Please visit the wellbeing webpage to find out more about the range of support available to you. You are never alone.

Find out more

Ethics and interactions with industry: New online learning resource

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. 

Calling PCHD Advanced Trainees and Fellows: Join the College Learning Series Editorial Group

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 for further information and to apply.

Pomegranate Health Podcast

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

Physician Training Survey results now available

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

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). A reminder that the office is currently closed.

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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