Tasmania - May 2022

A message from your Tasmania Regional Committee Chair

AProf Rajesh Raj

Dear Colleagues,

If the past few months are any indication, 2022 is shaping up to be yet another eventful year. Surges of the epidemic in different parts of the world, climate emergencies and a war in Europe are again changing the world as we know it. After escaping the brunt of the illness for a long time, physicians in Tasmania have now had to cope with Covid over the last few months. More than ever, this is the time to look out for each other, and particularity for our younger trainees. In short, our changing times continue, and to paraphrase: change seems the only constant!

Change is also happening at the state committee of the RACP. This is the last newsletter I will have the pleasure to introduce - we will have a new committee this year, with several fresh faces on board. There are still some committee positions open, so if you would like to contribute to the college, to make it an even greater part of our working and training roles, this is the time to step forward. Details on how to apply for positions can be found on the RACP website - or get in touch with one of the committee members.

I would like to sign off by wishing all of you the very best - and wishing our trainees fulfilling and satisfying years ahead.

In these troubling times for world health, it is apt to remember words from an introduction to the textbook by the editors of Harrison's- there has been no greater time in our working lives to realise "the opportunity, responsibility or obligation" an individual has as he serves as a physician.

With warm regards


Associate Professor Rajesh Raj
Tasmanian Regional Committee Chair

Save the date

Annual Tasmanian Conference – Friday, 11 November 2022 – Launceston.

Stay tuned for our program and join us in person later this year.


Physician in Focus – Dr Shantha Dewage - Tasmanian Regional Committee member

Shantha DewageBrief Bio of yourself:

I obtained MBBS and MD (medicine) from the Faculty of Medicine, Colombo Sri Lanka, and moved to Tasmania in 2017. I hold Fellowships with the RACP and the Ceylon College of Physicians. My field of practice is mainly general medicine, and I am currently developing an interest in acute stroke care.

I’m the Director physicians Training (DPE) at North West Regional Hospital (NRWH) and I am also involved with the undergraduate teaching at the Rural Clinical School of UTAS. I have two children and my wife with me, and currently living close to NWRH. My hobbies include playing badminton and water sports.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your role?

Acute medicine is my favourite.

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

To see how my sick patients are getting better each day.

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

We start with the morning handover at 8am followed by the ward round. I usually try to find a time for a coffee with my juniors. Student and registrar teaching during the ward round is a favourite thing and I enjoy it very much. We usually have lunchtime teaching four days a week. Two days a week, I have afternoon out-patient clinics.

How do you manage work/life balance?

Spending time with family and playing badminton two to three days per week are my favourite things.

Are there any patient success stories that you can share?

In 2021, there was a patient admitted to NWRH with recurrent TIAs/strokes, two weeks after an insertion of port-a-cath. Her CT angiogram had been reported as normal carotids and vertebral arteries. However, when I went through the CT films, I found that the port-a-cath was in the right subclavian artery and going through the brachiocephalic trunk to the arch of the aorta. It was the reason for the strokes. We quickly sent her to the vascular surgeons at RHH and the catheter was removed. She got better and no permanent disability was left.

RACP Online Community (ROC) and Mentor Match

Welcome to the RACP Online Community (ROC)!

You will have seen correspondence from the College around the launch of our online community; the ROC. The ROC which provides RACP members with the opportunity to discuss topical industry news, to catch up with colleagues, and to keep abreast of College news and events. It can also be used to post questions, share comments, and start debates and discussions with members in Western Australia, as well as with other members from across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.

We would encourage you to log into the ROC and take part in our online community.  

Log into the ROC

Mentor Match at the ROC

Mentor Match is open to all members who would like to share their knowledge, expertise and advice with junior colleagues. You are invited to register as a mentor, and to watch this short video to see how easy it is to participate.

We will soon be inviting members to apply to be mentees. Please keep a look out for further information, and contact us if you have any questions.

Supervisor Professional Development Program Workshops

Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP) workshops provide supervisors with an opportunity to share their expertise with other supervisors and enhance and strengthen their supervisor skills. 

Register for a virtual, face-to-face, or online Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP) workshop.

RACP Online Learning

The RACP offers an extensive collection of online learning resources designed to support members with their professional development and lifelong learning needs. Resources cover a range of clinical and professional topics, including:

And more! Don’t forget to claim CPD credits for time spent on RACP Online Learning.

Find online resources

RACP Support Program

The RACP Support Program is a fully confidential and independent helpline available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is free for Fellows and trainees.

The RACP places the utmost importance on the wellbeing of its members. It can be difficult to balance the pressures of the workplace, interactions with colleagues and personal relationships. If you are having a hard time, we encourage you to contact Converge to organise a free session.

Get support

Earth, Sky and Wind: Interested outside medicine

Dr Duncan Cooke croppedBy Dr Duncan Cooke, Consultant Nephrologist Launceston General Hospital

Our interests outside medicine are often categorised as a form of release from the pressures of work.  My interests certainly fulfil this need, but this is not in fact the primary reason for my pursuit of them. 

Three current interests that I indulge when sufficient time allows are gardening, building/flying model aeroplanes and archery.  In each case my attention is captured by beauty.

I will never tire of marvelling at the bright perfection of a new green shoot of a rosebush, the vigorous growth of blackberry in spring or the unstoppable advance of a potato plant as it pushes its leaves through a layer of mulch.  I even have trouble weeding.  How can you just pull up and discard such healthy plants!  As for thinning out carrots… 

Aeroplanes and archery have much in common.  The flight of a glider and the flight of an arrow are very similar.  There is a strange and inexplicable beauty in flight.  I remember the wonder I experienced when test gliding the first aeroplane I built, and that wonder has never left me. 

In the same way, I recall the thrill of sending that first fletched arrow shaft flying from a bent stick.  I have often tried to explain this beauty but have never found the right words.  The best I can do is hand you a plane and say “throw” or give you a bow and say “shoot”. 

I think we humans are just innately wired to witness and respond to beauty.

Frequently asked questions – RACP VIC/TAS Regional Office

What are the opening hours of the RACP VIC/TAS Regional Office?

Victorian staff currently work from home due to COVID-19 measures. Normal business hours, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, remain unchanged.

Where is the RACP VIC/TAS Regional Office located?

The RACP VIC/TAS Regional Office is currently closed to members and staff are currently working from home. However, the address is: Level 2, 417 St Kilda Road, Melbourne VIC

What is the contact number for the VIC/TAS Regional Office?

You can reach our office on 03 9927 7700 or Member Services on 1300 697 227.

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