Victoria - May 2022

A message from your Victorian Regional Committee Chair

This is my last communication as Chair of the Victorian Regional Committee. I have greatly enjoyed my time in this role thanks to you, a very engaged Committee, and our RACP colleagues. I hope to continue coordinating the Updates and “MBA in a day” for a little while yet.

At present, COVID-19 is relatively controlled, but we have war in the Ukraine and the climate crisis to deal with. We can at least do something to help with climate change. Consider reading the College’s climate change open letter which identifies how climate change is a major risk to our healthcare system. Let’s all do the best we can and encourage our friends and families to do so too.

Kind regards,

Professor Judy Savige FRCP FRACP FRCPA PhD MSc Dip Mgmt
Victorian Regional Committee Chair

Physician in Focus: A/Prof Solomon Menahem – Victorian Regional Committee member

Solomon Menahem thumbnailI am an adult renal physician practicing in both the public and private sectors. I am currently Director of Renal Services at Latrobe Regional Hospital, Traralgon in Gippsland, Victoria. I am also Supervisor of Intern Training and I support undergraduate and postgraduate medical teaching at Latrobe Regional Hospital. I maintain a small private practice in metropolitan Melbourne too. I recently retired as a Practitioner Member of the Victorian Board of the Medical Board of Australia.

I have a keen interest in all aspects of nephrology. I find it most rewarding to provide long-term support to my patients with chronic disease, often caring for them for many years. I enjoy supporting a patient’s transition from chronic kidney disease to dialysis, and then hopefully renal transplantation if appropriate. It is most rewarding to be even a small part of the team that facilitates a live donor or deceased donor renal transplant for a long-term dialysis patient. It is really gratifying to be witness to the transformation from dialysis dependence and chronic ill-health to an independent and active transplant recipient.

I find nephrology stimulating and challenging, particularly with respect to acute glomerulonephritis and renal transplantation and its complications. The renal team I work with at Latrobe and Monash Medical Centre are collegial and supportive, and always willing to engage in academic discussions for challenging patients. There have certainly been many developments in nephrology through my career which has made dialysis more palatable for patients and renal transplantation more successful. I am glad to have been a small part of that process.

My workday mostly involves providing care to out-patients and in-patients with renal disease. I have more recently been involved in the expanding of Renal Services in Gippsland, Victoria, trying to provide greater support and services for local patients with renal disease. It has been a real eye-opener for me to spend time in regional Victoria, having previously spent my working life in metropolitan Melbourne. I have been extremely impressed with the commitment and dedication of the local physicians who are working hard to improve healthcare and services for local patients. On the other hand, I have been astounded to see the ongoing impact of obesity and diabetes, drug and alcohol abuse, poverty and smoking on the health of rural Victorians. I have been quite surprised about the lack of health literacy and engagement by many patients in poorer areas of rural Victoria. Particularly, I have been struck by the very poor health of Indigenous Australians in these areas and the impact of lifestyle-related chronic disease.

Before COVID-19 I made sure to travel to renal conferences that were in interesting places to ensure that I was up-to-date with the renal medicine, and to expose myself to new cultural experiences. I try to exercise regularly and have a keen interest in English literature. I am an avid reader and am currently focusing on reading every Booker Prize winner since its inception (which has proved quite challenging since some of the earlier books are quite dull). I have always been a keen skier and have been lucky enough to explore many overseas ski slopes with friends. 

One success story I can share is a middle-aged patient who had been on dialysis for many years.  Unfortunately, due to chronic health issues and poor motivation the patient was unable to access renal transplantation. I worked hard with the patient to re-engage them with their treating practitioners and ensure that all outstanding issues were addressed to allow them to be waitlisted for a deceased donor transplant. It took many years of encouragement and support, but finally, after five years of in-centre haemodialysis, the patient received a renal transplant. It has been gratifying to watch the patients transition from a poorly motivated and unengaged individual to someone who now has a new lease on life, re-engaging with friends and family and trying to return to the workforce.

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

Orienteering: Embracing the outdoors - by David Goddard, AFOEM

Photo - David Goddard OrienteeringGoing outdoors stirs one’s senses – the smell of a wet forest, the soft outline of trees in light mist, a scatter of dewdrops on spiderwebs on a cool summer morning, blue wrens darting from bushes. After rain, normally dry gullies burble with water. In the afternoon, the golden sunlight forms long shadows and highlights in bright filigree the long hair of other runners. A little later, the dimming rays of the sinking sun light the high branches of the nearby trees in pink and cloak surrounding hills in gold. In winter, joy comes from a run through the generous golden balls of blooming wattle, or in rain, when diffused rays of the setting sun fill the western sky with wild orange. There is the quietness of a morning of heavy frost save for the crunch of footsteps. And months after a bushfire, wildflowers blaze in colour from the ash-rich soil. So much beauty.

Orienteering takes me outdoors. It is an amateur sport where competitors visit a series of control sites in a forest, a park or a school campus using a detailed map for navigation. Successful competitors concentrate well and make quick decisions while moving as fast as they can. Most events are for people who go solo on foot; some events are for mountain-bike riders. Standard forest events are set for course durations for around an hour; sprint events on campuses of schools and universities take 15 to 20 minutes. Male and female participants span many ages – from middle primary school to over 80 years, so championship events have a range of age-classes. Nearly all events are public – open to all – but many require pre-entry via the State orienteering association’s website.

Forest events are set in varied terrains, ranging in complexity of navigation. The most challenging terrains include the deeply eroded areas of past goldmining, hillsides strewn with huge granite boulders and forested sand dunes. Because runners leave the tracks, areas where undergrowth is thick are generally avoided.

The maps are made painstakingly by orienteers. A typical scale on forest maps for foot orienteering is 1:10,000, i.e., 1cm represents 100 metres. Sprint maps have a larger scale, e.g., 1:4000. The maps depict the shape of the ground using contour lines, and offer features as small as pits, mounds, thickets, minor tracks, and individual large rocks.

The challenge is to get efficiently between one control site and the next, guided mainly by the shape of the ground. In flat areas, a direct route is often quickest; however, if the map indicates that a direct route involves steep climbs or thick vegetation, then some deviation helps. The way between control sites is called a ‘leg’. Control sites are not shown as dots on an orienteering map. Instead, they form the centre of a circle of 30 metres radius. If a leg is, say, 500 metres, then planning it requires first finding on the map near the circle an identifiable point on the terrain from which the orienteer may ‘attack’ (reliably find) the control site, then planning a route to reach that point from which the ‘attack’ may be launched.

Navigation through a forest requires the ability to match features shown on a map with what you see around, to select from the many map features those that will guide your route, and to find ways to cope when you find, through haste or lack of care, that you’ve strayed to a place which does not match what you expect to see on your map. A novice can quickly develop sufficient skills when guided by an expert, but to become reliably efficient in all types of terrain takes years of participation and reflection. It’s a sport where you keep learning and refining what you do – in competing, obviously, but also in making maps, setting courses and use of technology at events.

In a forest event, the control itself is a metal stand about 70cm high, near the top of which sits a flag held by a frame so that it is readily visible from all directions. Surmounting the stand is a small computer, a little larger than a cigarette packet. Each competitor wears on a finger a smart card which interacts and registers with the small computer as the competitor passes. When a competitor finishes the course, he or she downloads the smart card and obtains a print-out of the time taken for each leg. This can foster discussion with others. High quality events within a single state will commonly attract between 100 to 200 competitors. National events typically attract competitors from New Zealand and numbers attending can be 800 to 1000.

Maps are stored electronically then, for use, most are printed on waterproof paper and depict magnetic north. The essence of the sport is map-reading, but a compass can help, especially when the day is overcast. GPS is not used for navigation but can serve to reveal one’s route after completion of a course, sometimes embarrassingly. Orienteering is often humbling. Quick route decisions made on the run can, when thought about afterwards, bring self-reflective enquiry: “How on Earth could I have been so stupid?”

In most Australian states and New Zealand, events are run by orienteering clubs. Each event requires an organiser, a course designer and a person who checks the fairness and quality of the courses set for that event. The organisers and course designers are competitors on other days – in this sport, officials and competitors are the same people.

For an event, a forest or other location with an existing map is selected. Permission is sought from the landowner or relevant government authority and, increasingly, from first nation traditional owners. The course designer will plan control sites then visit the area to check the sites and whether the map needs updating because of, say, the appearance of new tracks or changes to vegetation since the area was last used. Typically, on the day before the event, the organiser transports tents, bunting, start and finish flags, water barrels and dozens of other items to the forest where all are arrayed. On the day, individual club members’ abilities are harnessed, orchestrated, and blended with good humour to bring a sense of companionship and achievement at the end of the day. The opportunity to partake in well-run minor projects is satisfying.

Events run despite bad weather. Two things cause cancellation – a declared fire ban and a fall of snow because it is dangerous to run if you can’t see the ground, and tree limbs laden with snow can fall. Electrical storms are dangerous but usually soon pass.

Most people get around well. Occasionally there is a sprained ankle or a scratch from a jagged branch. Seeing snakes during an event is very rare, and mineshafts are mapped.

Cardiorespiratory limitations at age 76 mean that now my pace around a course barely exceeds a brisk walk. But it’s something that both my wife, Ruth, and I enjoy. We just love “being out there”.

Frequently asked questions – RACP Victorian Regional Office

What are the opening hours of the RACP Victorian 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 Victorian Regional Office located?

The RACP Victorian 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 Victorian Regional Office?

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

Where can I park at the Victorian Regional Office?

Off-street parking is available off St Kilda Road and all-day parking is available under 417 St Kilda Road (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 03 9927 7700.

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