Western Australia — November 2019

A message from your Western Australian Regional Committee Chair

Welcome to the final e-bulletin for 2019.

Pic 1 Alex Cohen PortraitIt is with much sadness that we acknowledge the passing of former Royal Australasian College of Physicians President Prof Alexander (Lex) Cohen, on Friday, 6 September 2019 and send our condolences to his wife Agatha and to their families.

There have been many tributes to Lex Cohen, including a magnificent obituary in the West Australian and the Member Focus below but to those who knew him well, he was so much more than a fine Physician, an Academic, Researcher and Educator – he was a Scholar of medicine and of life.

In his work Lex championed the causes of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Medical Education and Physician Training, among many others, achieving high status at UWA as Chancellor and in the College, as the first West Australian elected as President.

The College became an integral part of his life and until very recently he maintained an active interest in College affairs, regularly attending meetings and other College events. One of his most prized possessions was Bruce Hunt’s RACP College cap that he wore to many College ceremonies and graduations, my own included.

In retirement Lex indulged his passion for roses, music, opera and travel and his love of meeting and conversing with people of all walks of life, be it overseas, at home in Australia with colleagues, friends and family or on the local bus when he could no longer drive.

Lex will be remembered for many reasons but above all he will be remembered for that enigmatic smile, the warm embrace, kiss on the cheek or handshake and the engaging conversation for most of all Lex was a gentleman par excellence – Vale Lex.

The WA Regional and Trainees' Committees have been working to deliver opportunities for members to network and gain access to clinical updates from the numerous world class experts based in Western Australia.

Congratulations to the Trainees who presented at the RACP Foundation Research Awards night on 16 October and to the winner Dr Panchali Kumarasinghe, Advanced Trainee in Gerontology who presented on: 'Incorporating Clinical Frailty Scale into Routine Outpatient Nephrology Practice: An Observational Study'. 

The Paediatric Trainee Research Award presentations will be held on Wednesday, 6 November at Perth Children’s Hospital as part of the CAHS Annual Scientific Symposium.

The Faculties are again leading the way in Western Australia with the local AFOEM members recently attending the first full scale Emergency Response Plan Simulation for a Regional Airport.

Continuing Professional Development continues to be a concern for many members and we will be running a number of workshops and one on one sessions for members. I encourage anyone concerned about CPD to contact the Western Australian Regional Office.

The College election cycle will shortly be commencing, and I would encourage members to get involved through nominating for the WA Regional Committee or other positions.

Dr Helen Rhodes
Chair Western Australian Regional Committee

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My Work Profile

Many Government decisions on workforce are based on anecdotal data. As a response to this we are updating our records to assist our future decision making for physician education programs.

Did you know the hours you work, the professional activities you are engaged in and where you work impact the paediatrics and adult medicine workforce?

You’ll find My Work Profile on the payment confirmation page that will take you to your own work profile, or you can access it in MyRACP.

MyRACP supported internet browsers are Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Firefox and Safari.

How does My Work Profile benefit you?

Workforce data will be made available to you and will help:

  • New Fellows decide which geographic area to work in Australia and New Zealand
  • New Fellows choose between private or public practice
  • you understand how your work hours compare with your peers
  • the RACP and stakeholders including government policy-makers make better workforce decisions, based on current data
  • Fellows understand activities they are undertaking; research, administration or clinical.

For more information, please read the My Work Profile FAQs. For details on what data will be collected and how it will be stored, please read the Privacy Statement.

Complete today

Hear what others have to say about My Work Profile


Register now for RACP Congress 2020 
4 to 6 May  l  Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

Dr Catherine Crock Headshot

Balancing medical science with humanity

We are excited to announce the keynote speaker for RACP Congress 2020, Professor Catherine Crock AM.

Professor Crock is not only a doctor at the Royal Children's Hospital; Melbourne, she is a music and theatrical producer, a humanitarian, a mother and a strong advocate for culture change in healthcare.

After identifying the direct correlation between organisational negativity and staff wellbeing and effectiveness Professor Crock founded the Hush Foundation and the Gathering of Kindness events. She is dedicated to building, nurturing and instilling a culture of kindness throughout the healthcare system.

Her two plays “Hear Me” and “Do You Know Me” have been performed in hospitals and aged care settings across Australia raising awareness of patient centred care, communication and patient safety issues and encouraging a shift in the culture and behaviour in healthcare.

Her keynote address Balancing science with humanity: how kindness restores the whole in medicine will be a not-to-be-missed highlight of RACP Congress 2020.

Join your colleagues at RACP Congress 2020, from Monday, 4 to Wednesday, 6 May 2020 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre in Melbourne, Australia.

Visit the Congress website to find out more about the program and to register.

Register now

Western Australian Regional Committee

The process for appointment of representatives for Divisions, Faculties and Chapters is ongoing.

The Members of the Western Australian regional Committee are:

  • Dr Helen Rhodes (chair)
  • Dr Angela Graves
  • Dr Anthony Mylius
  • Dr Murali Nayaranan
  • Dr Venkat Kodali
  • Dr P.K. Loh (AMD)
  • Dr Sarah Trinder (Trainee rep)
  • Dr Lee Fairhead (Trainee rep)
  • Dr Evelyn Lee AFOEM
  • Dr  Charles Douglas AFPHM

Western Australian Trainees' Committee

The Western Australian Trainee Committee’s portfolio includes providing a forum for the trainee members of the College in WA to contribute to the functioning of the College.

The Trainees' Committee is the principal advocate for Trainees in Western Australia and can be contacted by email for any queries or concerns.

The Trainees' Committee is the principal organisers of the Basic Training Orientation and the Advanced Trainees Forum which are held annually.

The Members of the Western Australian Trainees' Committee are:

  • Dr Lee Fairhead (Adult Medicine Co-Chair)
  • Dr Sarah Trinder (Paediatric Medicine Co-Chair)
  • Dr Kristen Lindsay
  • Dr Adrian Tarca
  • Dr Bradley MacDonald
  • Dr Oliver Venettacci
  • Dr Kimberley Minas
  • Dr Portia Smallbone
  • Dr Robert Hand
  • Dr Maeve O’Connor
  • Dr Momoko Combs
  • Dr Amali Samarasinghe


Physician in focus: Vale Professor Alex Choen, AO

Pic 2 Alex CohenMD, FRACP, FRCP, FRCPE, FRCPI, D.Litt (Hon) UWA

Professor Cohen started his medical training in Adelaide, subsequently specialising in Endocrinology with a focus on Diabetes.  He was instrumental in setting up the Centre for Diabetes Research at UWA and due to his efforts the Alex Cohen Scholarship was set up by the Diabetes Research Foundation WA to honour his contributions in the field.

The Alex Cohen Scholarship was created for the purpose of providing top-up scholarships to students awarded an Australian Postgraduate Award to conduct research based at UWA around clinical, cause, complications or psychological aspects of any form of diabetes.

He was President of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians from1992-94 and of the Australian Medical Association (WA) in 1973.

Emeritus Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and Royal Perth Hospital, a Fellow of the Australian Medical Association and Wolfson College Oxford, and a past Research Fellow of Harvard University Medical School.

In 1995, he was also appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia for his efforts in improving diabetes research and care in the State.

Prof Cohen also served as Chancellor of the University of Western Australia from 1998-2000. UWA awarded Professor Cohen an Honorary Doctorate of Letters in 2002.

Professor Cohen was awarded the Australian Medical Association (WA) Award in 2013 for his outstanding contribution to diabetes research in Western Australia.

There can be few fellows in Western Australia whose careers have not been impacted by Professor Cohen at some point and he will be sorely missed.

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Upcoming events

The Western Australian Regional Committee is hosting a series of talks on topics of interest to members.

The next topic is:

Continuing Professional Development: MBA changes session

Date: Friday, 22 November 2019 
Time: 5.30pm - 8.30pm 
Venue: RACP Western Australian Office, 1-3/24 Leura Street, Nedlands WA 6009

The next CPD workshop/Information Session will be Friday, 22 November which will focus on Categories 2 and 3 including Tools for Audit and Peer Review.

Staff from the CPD unit in Sydney will be in the Western Australian Office from 2pm – 5pm on Friday, 22 November for one on one discussion on CPD and the unique circumstances of members. If you would like to attend, please email us.

Members are encouraged to suggest topics they think would be of interest to their colleagues by email.

Register today

Rural physicians' weekend

The Fifth Annual Rural Physicians Weekend will be held at St Catherine’s College in Nedlands on the Saturday, 23 and Sunday, 24 November 2019.

The Rural Physicians Network have put together an outstanding program which will afford practitioners from Rural and Remote settings the opportunity to hear clinical updates on the management of common conditions from Metropolitan based specialists.

  • Endocrinology update – Answering your clinical questions about hyperparathyroidism, adrenal insufficiency, testosterone replacement and HRT
  • Vertigo – 'I’m dizzy doc' tips for a practical evidence-based work up in a regional setting
  • Urology update for general physicians – sharing care for continence and other urinary problems in older people, update of prostate cancer management for general physicians.
  • Cervical myelopathy is not uncommon – which patients do neurosurgeons need to see, can we pick who surgery can help, tips for navigating this minefield
  • Rheumatology update – which rheumatology drugs should a regional physician be starting and when? Why are so many people on DMARDs without a definite diagnosis? How should I diagnose and manage elderly onset RA?
  • Dementia – challenges in management in rural and remote settings
  • Obesity / bariatric medicine – evidence-based approach to management of obesity, bariatric surgery approaches and post-op trouble shooting
  • Palliative care updateVAD in WA; lignocaine and ketamine infusions, managing dyspnoea
  • Haematology update models for managing malignancy in regional WA, Diagnosis? MDS. How far to go with work up, referral.
  • HypertensionWhen and how to work up for secondary causes in the country, practice tips for management and risk reduction in the complex patient.
  • Physician wellness – doctor, heal thyself
The weekend features updates from the various regions as to the interesting or innovative approaches they have employed to address the unique issues faced when practicing in isolation. A Networking Dinner at ITSARA restaurant is always the highlight of the weekend giving colleagues the chance to catch up.

Register today

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SA Annual Scientific Meeting

When: Saturday, 30 November 2019
Time: 8.30am - 3.30pm
Where: Adelaide Convention Centre
Explore SA: Discover what you can do while in South Australia

Following on from the success of last year’s event, the 2019 ASM promises to be as engaging and stimulating as last year. Held under the theme 'Specialists. Together' at the Adelaide Convention Centre, the program has three parts, with something for everyone.

Session one is titled ‘Pain, addiction and death’ with three speakers who will discuss the opioid crisis, brain immune systems contributing to pain, addiction and death, and palliative care.

Session two is the judging of the Trainee Research Awards by our panel:

  • Professor Paul Komesaroff FRACP, President of the RACP Adult Medicine Division
  • Professor Paul Colditz FRACP, President of the RACP Paediatrics and Child Health Division
  • Professor Steve Wesselingh FRACP, Executive Director of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).

Session three is titled ‘Diseases and therapies: old and new’. The four speakers will discuss the history and modern developments of the silicosis epidemic, and latest developments with rheumatoid arthritis, stroke and lymphoma.

Full-day registration is $75 for trainees and $95 for Fellows, with medical students and non-members also welcome. Due to popular demand, half-day registrations are also being offered for the first time this year.

SA ASM Sponsors

Register now

Recent events

Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine CPD Event

Dr John Suthers, FAFOEM, recently organised the testing of the Emergency Response Plan (ERP) for a Critical Incident at Beverley Airport, in association with the Beverley Soaring Society.  This is believed to be the first full scale simulation testing of an ERP for a Gliding Club in Australia.

Several AFOEM members were in attendance to observe and critique the components pertinent to Occupational and Environmental medicine. The event will be followed by a formal peer and performance review. This presented an ideal opportunity for members to familiarise themselves with the activities which qualify for Category 2 and 3 of the Revised CPD framework of the RACP.

The day commenced with the simulated crash of a light aircraft at Beverley Airstrip, the facility Emergency Response Plan was enacted and Members of the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Faculty audited performance against Plan.

The local Shire were in attendance providing full scale Police, Ambulance and Volunteer Fire Service responses comprising a police command unit, two fire trucks and three ambulances, which were outstanding.

Members then accompanied “Casualties” with non life-threatening trauma to Beverley Regional Hospital to see the use of the WACHS Emergency Telehealth Consultation system.

The Telehealth Service allows access to a FACEM specialist 24/7 from over 80 locations in Remote and Rural Western Australia. The Western Australian Department of Health Emergency Telehealth Service will be a feature in the next edition of the WA e-Bulletin.

AFOEM members carried out an audit of the EMR plan against performance on the Day and contributed to the formal debrief, with over 40 participants attending, providing observations and recommendations for improvement pertaining to the delivery of clinical care.

A follow-up session will focus on practice improvement and Peer Review of the performance of First responder Fellows. This session will be an ideal activity for Category 2 and 3 CPD.

A formal summary of the exercise will be compiled and made available to the Beverley Soaring Society for inclusion in their review.

Pic 3 Dr Suthers  Pic 4 Beverley Shire FES Volunteers

 Pic 5 Beverley Hospital Emergency Telehealth Service  Pic 6 AFOEM WA Faculty Members and Officials f the Beverley Soaring Society

Pictured: Dr Suthers FAFOEM, fighting a big fuel fire, Beverley Shire FES Volunteers, Beverley Hospital Emergency Telehealth Service, AFOEM WA Faculty Members and Officials of the Beverley Soaring Society

Trainee Research Awards; Adult Medicine

The RACP Foundation Trainee Research Award event for entries in the Field of Adult Medicine was held on Wednesday, 16 October at the Western Australian Regional Office in Nedlands.

Four Trainees, basic and Advanced, were shortlisted to present on a diverse range of topics including:

  • Compliance with Multidisciplinary Team Meeting management plans for Oncology Patients
  • Platelet Rich Plasma injection for the treatment of OA in Miners
  • The value of Urine Culture in clinical management
  • Incorporating a Clinical Frailty Scale in Routine Outpatient Nephrology Assessment

The standard of research was outstanding and bodes well for the profession. Trainees were judged on a range of criteria including their research methods and presentation skills by a panel of Fellows.

The winner of the Trainee Research Award in the Field of Adult Medicine for Western Australia 2019 is Dr Panchali Kumarasinghe, Advanced Trainee in Gerontology who presented on: 'Incorporating Clinical Frailty Scale into Routine Outpatient Nephrology Practice: An Observational Study'. 

Dr Kumarasinghe will be invited to present at the next RACP Congress on 4-6 May 2020 in Melbourne.

Pic 7 Trainee Research Awards

Pictured: Presenters and Judges from the 2019 Trainee Research Awards in Adult Medicine WA

Trainees' Day

The Inaugural Western Australian Trainee’s Day was held Saturday, 9 November at the University Club of Western Australia. The day provided information to both Basic and Advanced Trainees related to their training pathways and options in the RACP.

The program included a variety of topics and has a particular focus on self care and wellness for junior medical staff. The event will be a fantastic opportunity for trainees at all staged of their career to network with peers and colleagues.

There were a number of employers and academic institutions represented who advised how to maximise opportunities for clinical and academic career progression

Sessions included:

  • Wellness: Developing tools to aid resilience.
  • Supervisor Professional Development Program Workshop
  • Research planning
  • Basic Training orientation
  • Advanced Training information
  • Rural training opportunities
  • The future of training in WA.

We thank AVANT Mutual for sponsoring the event. Due to their generosity this full day event was free and fully catered.

New online course on working with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers

globe-pexels-photo-893126Learn how to work more sensitively and effectively with migrant, refugee and asylum seeker patients in this new online course.

The course provides relevant facts and practical strategies for objectives such as good cross-cultural communication and facilitating easier navigation of the healthcare system. The course includes the perspectives and stories of a diverse range of individuals to help show the full picture.

Accessible anywhere and optimised for mobile on-the-go learning, RACP Online Learning Resources are free for members and counts towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements.

Physician Wellness

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians Support Program, Converge International, is a professional and confidential counselling service, available to all RACP Fellows and trainees, 24 hours, seven days per week.

The program provides members with access to confidential counselling, coaching and support for workplace and personal issues. You can arrange to speak directly with a Senior Converge International Consultant face-to-face, over the phone or via the internet.

To make an appointment, or to speak with a RACP Support Program consultant, call 1300 687 327 (Aust) or 0800 666 367 (NZ).

Fellows can claim CPD credits by listening to Pomegranate Health Podcasts

marrabinyaEp53: Marrabinya — a hand outstretched

Marrabinya is a Wiradjuri word meaning 'hand outstretched.' It’s the name of a service in the Western New South Wales Primary Health Network which financially supports Indigenous Australians to attend specialist consultations. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples receive specialist medical care 40 per cent less often than non-Indigenous Australians. It’s easy to imagine communities out in the red desert and blame culture clash or the tyranny of distance, but most Indigenous Australians live in cities or regional communities. The Marrabinya staff explain how socioeconomic factors and institutional biases can accumulate to prevent Aboriginal patients from receiving the care they need.

Marrabinya is an exemplary model of principles that RACP has formalised in the Medical Specialist Access Framework. Indigenous leadership, cultural safety, person and family-centred approach and a context-specific approach can all contribute to great gains in the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Guests: Marrabinya Executive Manger Donna Jeffries and chronic care link staff Desley Mason, Kym Lees, Possum Swinton, Sandra Ritchie, Donna Jeffries, Melissa Flannery, Joanne Bugg, Jacob Bloomfield and Gaby Bugg.

Fellows of theRACP can claim CPD credits via MyCPD for listening to this episode and reading the resources below. Subscribe to Pomegranate Health in Apple iTunesSpotify or any Android podcasting app 

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