Tasmania - April 2020

A message from your Tasmanian Regional Committee Chair

'No greater opportunity, responsibility, or obligation can fall to the lot of a human being than to become a physician' - Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 1950

As medical professionals, we are invariably drawn to the forefront of many a crisis. The situation is no different today, as the world grapples with the pandemic spread of COVID-19. Whether advising on national policy, or deciding which patients come to the local outpatient clinic, doctors are making multitudes of decisions - some momentous, some every day, which impact on the lives of so many others. It's how we rise to the challenges during these trying times, and how we provide advice that matters. We are guided by altruism and selflessness, the hallmarks of every health professional. We have several busy weeks, or potentially months ahead.

Beyond our burgeoning clinical responsibilities in this time of crisis, we are also the voice of reason and scientific calm for our colleagues, juniors, extended families and our local communities at large. As everyone around us is constantly inundated with conflicting information from the lay press, online news sources and ubiquitous social media, they turn to us, the doctors they trust, for everyday advice. More than ever before, we need to keep ourselves well informed and ready to bring a rational perspective to the fears around us.

I encourage all of you to identify sources that you can rely on to give you scientific, balanced and reliable information. Most reputed journals have webpages dedicated to information on COVID-19, several journals have made these articles freely accessible. Please remember that several craft groups within the College and several other specialty societies internationally are also providing discipline-specific advice.

Some coronavirus resources you may find useful are: 

Within Tasmania, there are publicly available websites with information set up by the Department of Health, including the following:

Those Fellows and trainees working within the public health system are also receiving regular email updates from the Tasmanian Health Service officials.

Finally, remember that self-care is important. It is easy to be overwhelmed with the anxieties of continuing to work through this epidemic. Please use the resources provided by your College if you find yourself in need of some support, such as Converge International, which is confidential and free for members.

Keep an eye out for colleagues, particularly trainees who may be struggling. A friendly chat and the promise of support can be immensely helpful. Please keep in mind the wellbeing of our junior colleagues, who often work the longest hours and have the greatest exposures. You may want to reconsider work processes within teams to see how best to work efficiently and safely.

Telehealth options may be relevant, particularly for outpatient work. The College recently hosted webinars on telehealth services and the implications. Access the recording under the telehealth section of the coronavirus webapge. Medicare has also provided the following factsheet: New telephone and video consultations bulk billing items March 2020.

The coming weeks are likely to be stressful, as we stretch our resources and our abilities. After these times are behind us, once more we will look back and reflect on the fact that as doctors, our circumstances gave us a unique opportunity:  to not merely sit on the sidelines, but to roll up our sleeves and go out into the field to help our fellow human beings. 

Stay well and keep safe!

Dr Rajesh Raj
Chair, Tasmanian Regional Committee

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:

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.

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 professionalism@racp.edu.au.

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


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