Victoria - August 2021
I would like to thank you once again for all your work helping with exam preparation, and with the exams so far this year... and it is not over yet!
There are more educational sessions coming up. After the success of last year's event, we're hosting the MBA in a Day event again. Sessions will include how to write a business case, chair a meeting, review a manuscript, write a book, do research, take a sabbatical, and more.
You will also be invited to an exciting event called 'The Future Hospital' as well as two more continuing education updated events. Please look for these in upcoming RACP Events Digest communications you get sent each month.
Finally, a reminder that the RACP archives a lot of its webinars. You may like to have a look at these past recordings.
The Department of Health updated us on its plans for responding to climate change and has prepared the document, Health and Human Services Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan 2022-2026 on page five. You can read more in the item included in this eBulletin.
Professor Judy Savige FRCP FRACP FRCPA PhD MSc Dip Mgmt
Victorian Regional Committee Chair
I am the Medical Director of the Staying Well Program and the Medical Director of the Hospital Without Walls at Northern Health. I am also President of RACP's Adult Medicine Division and an Adjunct Professor of medicine and of research in the faculties of medicine and art design and architecture at Monash University. I am the RACP Victorian committee representative on the Safer Care Victoria Expert Working Group (a state-wide improvement initiative to reduce heart failure readmission rates) and the Parliamentary Secretary's Emergency Demand Consultative and Advisory Forum.
I have worked as a Respiratory and General Physician and Health Services Researcher in Melbourne, London and Adelaide. I also set up the Victorian Respiratory Support Service at the Austin and the Clinical Epidemiology and Health Services Evaluation Unit at Royal Melbourne. I have a research degree in immunology of interstitial lung disease and a Masters in Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and conducted studies of asthma mortality along the way.
In the words of Holden Caulfield in the novel Catcher in the Rye, that is the 'straight arrow stuff'. One of my physician friends once said to me, "you have a near fatal attraction to complexity". I believe this to be the case, as I seem to like intractable problems that defy simplistic solutions.
After initial training and approximately 16 years of practising as a respiratory physician, general medicine beckoned largely because we couldn't get anyone to work in it, there were plenty of young respiratory physicians and my recollection was that general medicine was complex and required particular skills and knowledge that I hadn't yet conquered. It also seemed to be undervalued in the eyes of other specialties, which seemed unfair. The example of great teachers and mentors helped make it feel safe to proceed into general medicine. Generalism requires a particular mindset encapsulated in Michelangelo's motto, which also happens to be the motto of Monash University, 'Ancora Imparo', I am still learning.
General medicine has always been strongly supported in Victoria, one has only to look northwards to see a city of similar size where general medicine has no such presence. I now also work twice a year as a general physician in Alice Springs.
One-third of Australians live in regional, rural and remote areas and have worse health outcomes and less access to healthcare than those who live in metropolitan areas. Indigenous Australians have the worst health outcomes of all and are particularly disadvantaged. There is an opportunity for us to support Indigenous Australians receiving services they think are important. We can also work with them to achieve better health outcomes by embracing co-design, rather than simply doing things to them. This will only happen if we can first listen, co-design with them, and embrace the idea of our professional lives as a continuous learning journey.
The Adult Medicine Division (AMD) of the College took advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to trim its work plan and align it with the College strategic goals. It also used this opportunity to foster its relations with the Chapters, Faculties, Specialty Societies and the Paediatrics & Child Health Division.
The four themes of the AMD work plan are:
- increase equity and transparency in advanced training, including equity of opportunity for Indigenous trainees
- improve capacity to identify workforce composition and areas of need
- develop training and education in leadership and management
- invigorate the role of AMD in the College by enhancing collaboration with Specialty Societies and Chapters.
In the 42 years since I graduated, some things have changed, whereas others have not. The supply of good people wanting to do their best to help others get better has not changed and the quality of trainees never ceases to amaze me.
It is a huge privilege to work, on a daily basis, with people who are motivated to do good for others and who bring massive intellectual and social capital to the task. It is rewarding to watch people grow into their personal and professional roles. As the great cardiologist and teacher, Gordon Mushin from Prince Henry's Hospital once said in his raspy voice, ”cardiology is boring, people are interesting”.
What has changed for physicians is the amazing advances in technology and therapeutics which generates a whole range of complexities, some of them not able to be anticipated. To manage the complexity, a greater variety of services has to be available. People must be trained and there has to be career opportunities established to make it possible to manage the requisite variety. In addition, there are greater expectations of us as physicians, but the basic tenet remains that we will always act with the best interest of others at the core of our being. To manage the changed expectations and capabilities, we are learning to think differently. This requires us to re-learn the place of a virtue ethics in our professional lives, to understand the principles of design and systems thinking, and to embrace service co-design with our patients and our service partners, moving away from historical transactional episodic models of care.
In addition to working in general medicine at Northern Health, I am currently overseeing the implementation of a program. I am supporting the small number of people who are at risk of frequent admission to hospital, in the community, to achieve better health and to reduce their reliance on the hospital. This group constitutes two per cent of patients and generate up to 25 per cent of our direct healthcare costs. The service model is very simple – we use a combination of lay people to contact the enrolees and to engage with them, supported by a team of health coaches. The health coaches have a health professional background and intervene when appropriate and as needed, but not to carry a case load. This amounts to being a good neighbour, keeping an eye on the vulnerable at home, and listening to them. It embraces a very powerful concept, to start by asking someone what matters to them and what a good day looks like.
What we have found is that when you listen to people, they tell you stories. Our patients tell us that they experience pain, pressure in their lives and a loss of purpose and connection. They treat this themselves with alcohol and pills to relieve their existential angst. When we get to know them well, they confide in us and tell us secrets. In many instances, these are stories of prior abuse. In turn, we are learning about the principles of trauma-informed-practice.
I close by asking trainees and Fellows to consider spending some of their time in rural practice, including Alice Springs. One of our young trainees described the experience, "If you come and work in Alice Springs, you will leave a better person, a better doctor, and a better Australian". I hope it has been that way for me.
Professor Don Campbell
I am a regional Nephrologist based in Albury-Wodonga. I completed my FRACP nephrology in 2013 and have since become firmly embedded in regional nephrology, general medicine and obstetric medicine with a passion for regional training and workforce. My roles include Director of Physician Education, Head of Albury Campus of Charles Sturt Rural Clinical School, Senior Lecturer UNSW and Nephrologist and Obstetric Medicine Physician.
In addition to my clinical work at Albury Wodonga Health (AWH), I provide outpatient nephrology and obstetric medicine care to locally resettled refugees and Indigenous patients. I developed and implemented renal Advanced Trainee education events, including Nephrology 101 in 2013 and 2014, as well as the Regional Nephrology Weekend in 2018.
My passion for regional training and workforce led to involvement on the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nephrology Council in 2020 and ongoing roles on RACP committees. As a DPE, I've had a significant impact on the AWH training program with level two accreditation for Basic Training and development of a three-year training pathway between regional and metropolitan sites, in addition to further accreditation of Advanced Training sub-specialty opportunities. I am also a mother of four, love skiing, swimming, running and am keen to see high quality healthcare provided to regional Australians.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your role?
The most rewarding aspect of my role is seeing the patients I care for improve both physically and emotionally, with good health education, empathy, and individualised treatment.
What is it about your work that makes you want to get out of bed each morning?
I'm driven by providing evidence-based care to patients and working with colleagues, registrars, interns and medical students to improve training and health service delivery in our growing regional centre.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
I wake up any time between 5.30am and 7am to our delightful four-year-old daughter. Coffee is then delivered by our 10-year-old barista and I chat in bed with my husband and kids. I then head to work at 7.45am for handover at 8am (country life), before ward round and registrar support in the morning.
Next is training/education program from 12pm to 1pm. I have outpatient clinic or administrative duties in the afternoon prior to school pickup and family time. I like to run or swim in the evening, then dinner, stories, and bed. I enjoy the occasional TV series with the hubby – we love Grand Designs.
How do you manage work-life-balance?
I don't manage work-life-balance as well as I could. Being passionate about regional training and workforce means I am often working in the evening on training programs, medical workforce development, College accreditation applications and advocating at local, network and College levels. This, however, has been rewarding and worth the short-term pressures. Weekends are a welcome reprieve from the regular email exchanges. Having young children is a beautiful escape and distraction from the pressures of work. Running, swimming and skiing in winter have been a regular and important stress-release.
Are there any patient success stories that you can share?
One of my most rewarding patient interactions has been the care I provided for an elderly, well-respected man in Beechworth. He presented to me at 78-years-old with a rapidly progressive diabetic nephropathy, with a background of significant IHD and PVD. A reasonably quick decision regarding renal replacement therapy versus conservative care was required.
Time spent developing rapport and discussing the research, symptoms and treatment options with him and his family led to a comfortable decision with conservative management and involvement of the community palliative care team. We remained in regular contact with a home visit two weeks before a very peaceful death at home, after time with friends and family. I was invited to his funeral and his life was celebrated by the whole community. It was such a beautiful experience to be a part of, at a critical time in this impressive man’s life. The friendship that developed and appreciation he had for the care provided made it hard to say goodbye but incredibly rewarding at the same time.
Applications close Tuesday, 31 August 2021, 5pm AEST
Victorian 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 RACP Congress 2021, 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 Victorian Regional Office.
Find out more
Date: Tuesday, 19 October 2021
Time: 7pm – 8.30pm AEDT
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.
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.
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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.
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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.
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The RACP Victorian Regional Office would like to congratulate the 13 RACP Victoria Fellows recognised in the 2021 Queen's Birthday Honours lists. These awards 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:
Professor Stephen Davis AM, FRACP
For distinguished service to medical education, to stroke research, and to the management of cerebrovascular disease.
Professor Geoffrey Metz AM, FRACP
For distinguished service to medicine, to medical education both nationally and internationally, and to professional medical organisations
Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia:
Dr John Andrews FRACP
For significant service to nuclear medicine, and to professional societies.
Dr Gavin Becker FRACP
For significant service to medicine, to nephrology, and to professional societies.
Clinical Professor Flavia Cicuttini FRACP, FAFPHM
For significant service to medicine, and to musculoskeletal disease research
Professor Helena Teede FRACP
For significant service to medical education and research, to endocrinology, and to women’s health.
Associate Professor Edwina Wright FRACP
For significant service to medicine and research, notably for people living with HIV/AIDS.
Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division:
Professor Frank Alford FRACP
For service to endocrinology.
Clinical Professor Eugene Athan FRACP
For service to infectious diseases medicine.
Clinical Professor Peter Gates FRACP
For service to neurology.
Dr David Hare FRACP
For service to cardiology.
Dr David Hooke FRACP
For service to nephrology, and to aviation medicine.
Associate Professor Hyam (Barry) Rawicki FAFRM
For service to medicine as a rehabilitation specialist.
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.
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
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 email@example.com. You should also receive a reminder email from them today, 13 August. If you didn’t receive these emails, contact us. Further information about the survey is available on the RACP website.
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Practical Skills for Supervisors incorporates the overarching themes of developing trainee expertise and using coaching techniques to improve feedback practice. The 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.
Learning objectives are to develop a culture for learning, provide feedback and improve performance and deliver feedback in challenging situations.
Find out more and register
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 CLS@racp.edu.au for further information and to apply.
Consultation opens for the draft Health and Human Services Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan 2022-2026.
As part of the Climate Change Act 2017, the Victorian Government is required to develop Adaptation Action Plans for key systems that are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and/or essential to ensure Victoria is prepared for the effects of climate change.
The draft Health and Human Services Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan 2022-2026 addresses the impacts of climate change and proposes 14 strategic actions that Victoria’s health and human services system can take during the next five years to address current climate change impacts, reduce barriers to adaptation planning and action, and lay the foundations for transformational adaptation.
Please view the draft plan on the Engage Victoria website (public consultation closed on 6 August 2021).
The Department of Health, Victoria
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.