Trainee News July 2020

Message from the Chair of the College Trainees' Committee (CTC)

It’s been a year unlike any other. As COVID-19 evolved it became clear that physician training in 2020 would need to adapt. From the outset, RACP’s overriding principle has been to maximise accredited training time and progression, while maintaining the quality of your training. Throughout this process, our voice as the College Trainees’ Committee (CTC) has been included and valued.

All updates on training during COVID are being centralised on a dedicated page of the RACP Website.

Trainee representation in training decisions

Early on, two large advisory groups were established:

  • The Examinations Advisory Group
  • The Training & Accreditation Advisory Group

Both groups have included trainee representatives from Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand at every meeting. The Accreditation and Training Advisory Group includes five trainees representing Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, Adult medicine, Paediatrics, and the Faculties and Chapters. A pulse survey highlighting our concerns and experiences was completed by over 1,000 trainees and presented at these meetings.

Provisional Advanced Training

The concept of provisional Advanced Training (pAT) has been introduced to facilitate progression for basic trainees who unfortunately were unable to sit the clinical exam this year but who would have otherwise completed Basic Training. Full details are now available on the website.

Interactive webinars will be hosted for Basic Trainees on Monday, 20 July (Adult) and Thursday, 23 July (Paediatrics) to further clarify the process of pAT with dedicated time to answer your questions.


We are expecting an update in July on plans for the Adult and Paediatric Divisional Clinical Examination. The CTC is currently advocating that the clinical exam attempt not count for trainees and this remains under consideration. All other examinations apart from the Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine have also been postponed. As the situation with COVID progresses the relevant exam committees will continue to meet to evaluate the timing and format of exams and keep you updated.

Advanced Training Programs

Overarching principles for managing Advanced Training have been established and each of the 35 specialty training committees are currently meeting to work out the specifics of each program. Every Advanced Training Committee (ATC) has a trainee representative to advocate for you, who can be contacted through the relevant ATC email address. Additionally, all your concerns and queries that have been emailed to ATC’s are being forwarded to the committees for consideration in their decision-making processes.

Online Congress Series

RACP has taken Congress online and made it free for all members. It will run from June through to December with four to five sessions released per month.

Crazy Socks for Docs

It was great to see everyone in their crazy socks on Friday, 5 June. It’s an important reminder to keep looking after yourself and each other. As your trainees’ committee we’ll keep working with RACP on strengthening the systems and structures that support you.

If you ever need advice or are uncertain of where to take your queries, the College Trainees’ Committee is a good place to start. We can maintain confidentiality if needed and can be contacted at

Trainees have proven to be flexible and accommodating in a difficult and uncertain time, and in return we’re committed to working with our College to ensure flexibility and fairness in supporting our trainees. Thankyou for your understanding and adaptability during this time.

Dr Davina Buntsma
College Trainees’ Committee

A message from the Queensland Trainees' Committee Co-Chairs

Thank you to all trainees for their hard work and adaptability through the everchanging time of the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand that this has been a time plagued by uncertainty and anticipatory anxiety, and we thank you for your continued dedication to excellent patient care.  You can find out how RACP is supporting trainees and FAQs on the website.

We are aware that there has been concern regarding the postponement of clinical exams for those affected and transitioning to advanced training. However, we thank you for your patience while planning is being made, knowing there will be at least three months’ notice of new examination dates. There is also a focus on the development of online educational resources for Basic Trainees for both the written and clinical examinations.

We, on the Queensland Trainees’ Committee, have been advocating to ensure trainee wellbeing is considered at every step of the way to minimise the stress at an already difficult training time. If you or your colleagues are experiencing any issues, please do not hesitate to contact the RACP Support Program via Converge International with dedicated Covid-19 Support 'CoronaCare' package: 1300 687 633 or email

In other news, we have three new additions to our Queensland Trainees’ Committee. We would like to introduce Dr Kerinya Pillai, Dr Sanjana Dang, and Dr Shannan Searle – Shannan is the new Paediatric Medicine Co-Chair of the Queensland Trainees’ Committee and is also one of the Queensland representatives to the College Trainees’ Committee (CTC).

As always, your feedback is welcome so please feel free to contact your local trainee representative or contact the RACP Regional Offices. We look forward to supporting you both now during this uncertain time and into the future.

Dr Hash Abdeen and Dr Shannan Searle
QLD Trainees’ Committee

Basic Training Interim Program Changes and Mid-Year Applications 

The Basic Training COVID-19 Interim Program Changes for Australia are now available on the website.

Mid-year applications for the 2020 clinical year are now open. Online registrations for Basic Trainees can be found via the Basic Training Handbooks.
Please note the following dates for your training area and region:
Basic Trainees (AU)
Mid-year registrations close Monday, 31 August 2020
Late applications close Wednesday, 30 September 2020
Basic Trainees (NZ)
Mid-year registrations close Friday, 31 July 2020
Late applications close Monday, 31 August 2020

Interim changes to program requirements

All of the Basic and Advanced Training Committees (Divisions, Faculties and Chapters) have held extraordinary meetings over the past few months to discuss any interim program changes required to their training program requirements resulting from COVID-19. These changes are in addition to those already published across all training programs.

Committees ensured trainee representation and considered the findings from the COVID-19 Trainee Pulse Survey and other questions/concerns raised by trainees as part of this process. Trainee wellbeing was paramount in the decision making.

You will receive an email from your Training Committee Chair as soon as the interim changes for your program are available.

If you feel that the particular arrangements of your setting or circumstance have not been addressed by the interim measures, you may apply to your Training Committee separately for further advice. You are expected to meet all Training Program requirements where possible.

Divisional Clinical Examination

We have been busy working on identifying the most suitable dates for the postponed 2020 Divisional Clinical Examination (DCE). The COVID situation has continued to evolve since the decision to postpone the exam was first made back in March. What is possible to deliver in one State or country may not be possible in another, as the recent Victorian outbreak has shown. 

The College Education Committee has approved that the exam will be offered over two sittings. The first sitting will only be for those who were eligible in 2020. Those candidates who do not pass this exam can then resit later in the year with the trainees who are eligible to sit the exam in 2021. This approach, along with provisional Advanced Training, will enable trainees to continue on their training pathway.

We are running extensive consultations with Health Departments and District Health Boards to ensure that the exam can be offered in line with public health principles and not put patients, candidates and examiners participating at risk.  There is also a huge logistical exercise involved in running the exam twice within a short period and we are working with sites to ensure they can support this.

A number of options are being considered for how to improve the delivery of the exam to reduce the clinical and administrative load on health services. This will also take into account ongoing COVID impacts, such as potential travel restrictions. Thank you for your patience while we continue to finalise this.

We can confirm that the exam will still consist of two long cases and four short cases and the existing Score Combination Grid and marking rubric will remain.  

We are aiming to let you know of the proposed dates for the postponed DCE and how it will be delivered in mid-July.

All Basic Trainees should also have recently received a webinar invitation for their relevant Division. At this webinar you will be able to find out more information and ask questions about the exam, as well as more information on provisional Advanced Training and interim changes to your training program.

Update on postponed Faculty exams

We have recently announced the planned months for the rescheduled 2020 AFPHM, AFOEM and AFRM exams.

These are the earliest possible months to hold the exams and they are dependent on the ongoing improvement of the COVID-19 situation. These dates are subject to change should the situation change. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and will ensure all trainees receive at least three months' notice of the exam dates once they are confirmed. 

For any questions about the Faculty exams, please contact



Planned month

AFPHM Oral Examination (no supplementary exam)

2020 (Those who would have been eligible to sit in October 2020)

March 2021

AFPHM Oral Examination (including supplementary exam)

2021 (Those eligible to sit in October 2021, and unsuccessful March 2021 candidates who wish to re-sit in October)

October 2021

AFRM Fellowship Written Examination
(General Rehabilitation)

2020 and 2021

February 2021

AFRM Fellowship Written Examination (Paediatrics)

2020 and 2021

February 2021

AFRM Fellowship Clinical Examination
(General Rehabilitation)

2020 and 2021

May 2021

AFRM Fellowship Clinical Examination (Paediatrics)

2020 and 2021

May 2021

AFRM Module 1 Written Assessment
(General Rehabilitation)

2020 and 2021

May 2021

AFRM Module 2 Clinical Assessment
(General Rehabilitation)

2020 and 2021

June 2021

AFOEM Stage A Written Examination

2020 and 2021

Second half of 2021

AFOEM Stage B Written Examination

2020 and 2021

Second half of 2021

AFOEM Stage B Practical Examination

2020 and 2021

Second half of 2021

Advanced Training Selection and Matching update

The Postgraduate Medical College of Victoria (PMCV) is providing the Advanced Training Selection and Matching (ATSM) service this year. ATSM is used by some RACP specialties in different states across Australia as part of their recruitment process.

A list of specialty groups who are using the Advanced Training Selection and Matching (ATSM) service this year and the key dates for some specialty’s recruitment are now available. You will need to check the ATSM page regularly as more dates will be added.

If you are planning to apply for a position in one of the ATSM matches, please visit the PMCV Allocation and Placement Service website and create your "candidate account".

We encourage you to do this now so you are ready to participate in specialty group matches once candidate registrations open. Some specialties’ matches opened Wednesday, 1 July.

Please ensure you read all information provided when you apply for the match, as requirements and key recruitment dates vary between matches.

For all other specialty groups and health settings, please check the relevant recruitment sites.

Trainee Research Awards proceeding in 2020

Trainees and New Fellows undertaking post-Fellowship training are encouraged to apply for the Trainee Research Awards, which provide a wonderful opportunity to do an oral presentation of their research at an Australian regional or Aotearoa New Zealand RACP event.

The best presenters from each local event will be invited to be part of the 2021 RACP Congress Program. Selected representatives will receive complimentary registration, return economy airfares, and accommodation for up to three nights to attend the RACP Congress.

Applications are open until Monday, 31 August 2020. Please send your abstract submissions or inquiries by email to your respective regional RACP offices.

Applications for research funding closing soon

Don’t miss your chance to apply for funding for 2021 under the following award categories:

Grants of up to $45,000 are available to Fellows and trainees of the College from Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand across these award categories. Applications are due on Monday, 13 July 2020.

Please refer to the RACP Foundation website for information on specific eligibility requirements for each award.

RACP Trainee of the Year and Mentor of the Year

Nominate a colleague to recognise their outstanding contribution to the RACP through the RACP Trainee of the Year and RACP Mentor of the Year awards.

The RACP Trainee of the Year recognises a trainee who has made an outstanding contribution to the RACP, the community and/or trainee activities. Fellows and trainees can nominate someone who is an active trainee for a minimum of three months in the current year and at the time of their contribution for which they are nominated.

The RACP Mentor of the Year Award recognises a Fellow who has made an outstanding contribution to mentoring or has provided a high level of support and guidance throughout training.

Both award recipients will be presented at the 2021 RACP Congress and will receive complimentary registration, return economy airfares, and accommodation for three nights to attend the RACP Congress.

Nominations are due on Monday, 14 September 2020. Please refer to the RACP Foundation website for more information on this and other awards and prizes offered by the Foundation.

Calling PCHD trainees and Fellows: Join the new College Learning Series Committee

Following the success of the Adult Medicine stream of the College Learning Series (CLS), the Paediatric & Child Health Division Education Committee (PDEC) established the College Learning Series Committee (Paediatrics & Child Health) to identify lecturers and facilitate the production of CLS lectures that reflect the RACP Basic Training curriculum in Paediatrics & Child Health. This new committee will develop an annual schedule of lectures and work to ensure that the schedule is delivered, with support from dedicated CLS staff in the College.

PCHD Fellows are invited to apply for the following Committee roles:

  • Bi-national Coordinator, experienced in leadership roles and trainee education, who will Chair the Committee
  • Deputy Bi-national Coordinator, experienced in trainee education
  • Up to two (2) Regional Coordinators, committed to trainee education, from each of the jurisdictions of NZ, NSW, VIC, QLD, SA and WA
  • One (1) Regional Coordinator, committed to trainee education, for each of the jurisdictions of NT, TAS and ACT.

PCHD Basic Trainees and first year Advanced Trainees are invited to apply for the below Committee roles:

  • Two (2) trainee representatives.

More information on how to apply is available on the EOI webpage. The deadline for applications is Friday, 31 July 2020.

New advice about the Paediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome – Temporally associated with SARS-COV-2 (Kawasaki-like disease)

In May, reports began to emerge overseas about a condition in children which was provisionally named Paediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome - Temporally associated with SARS-CoV-2 (PIMS-TS) or alternatively Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). It was referred to in the media as a syndrome similar to Kawasaki disease.

In response to this, the College has endorsed a statement which was developed by the Paediatric Active Enhanced Disease Surveillance network, as part of the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance. The statement affirms that the condition is rare and that there has been no cases in Australia. In the unlikely event that cases are found in Australia, the statement provides guidance about what is known about the disease, recommendations for how to treat a possible case, and details of who to contact if a clinician needs further information.

Save the date - Aotearoa Trainee webinar

In light of Aotearoa NZ Trainees’ Day not going ahead this year, you are invited to a special Trainee Webinar on Thursday, 15 October 2020 from 6pm to 9pm NZDT.

With a focus on trainee wellbeing, this webinar is not to be missed. Registration is free and all trainees are welcome to attend.

Mark your calendars – online registrations will be opening soon.

For more information email the RACP Aotearoa NZ team.

Read findings from RACP voluntary member survey on telehealth in Australia

In May 2020, the RACP conducted a voluntary survey of all its practising Australian-based members on their use of the new Medicare Benefits Schedule telehealth attendance items introduced for COVID-19. A summary report is available, highlighting the impacts of the new telehealth items and outlining key findings and recommendations.

Learn more

Evolve case studies

To support the implementation of Evolve and Choosing Wisely recommendations in clinical practice, we have launched two case studies depicting clinical scenarios in which recommendations on reducing low-value care apply. These case studies explore a clinical scenario based on one of the Evolve recommendations on low-value care.

Evolve is seeking enthusiastic Fellows and trainees to partner with us in developing case studies for more specialties. The aim of the case studies is to support Fellows and trainees to build an understanding of low-value care within their specialty and act as a tool for clinical educators and supervisors. Email to get involved.

Advanced Training Renewal update

The common standards for Advanced Training curricula have now been finalised.

Thank you to all members who participated in consultation activities on the draft common standards throughout 2019. Your feedback was used to identify the content that is common across the Advanced Training programs, and to refine that content.

There is more work to be done to develop appropriate competencies for Cultural Competence. We will continue development and consultation in this area.

This year we will also focus on developing the common elements of the learning, teaching and assessment programs that will support the new Advanced Training curricula.

Some specialties will also start developing their program-specific curriculum content with assistance from the Curriculum Advisory Group and RACP Curriculum Team.

Help, Doctor! I'm confused! - Member run survey

Are you equipped to manage older patients with delirium?

As we enter a silver era, with more people living longer, we will see an increase in the numbers of patients presenting with delirium. In this context, information regarding knowledge, understanding and confidence among Basic Physician Trainees encountering patients with delirium will better inform efforts to provide teaching and training as you navigate training at BPT level and beyond.

This survey, developed and run by Dr Danielle Ní Chróinín, Consultant Geriatrician at Liverpool Hospital, will only take 5-10 minutes to complete. It is voluntary and anonymous. Should you choose to partake, the information collected will be valuable, especially where deficits that would benefit from further education are identified. The results (de-identified summary data) will be shared with the RACP and training networks, and submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. If you choose to participate, thank you in advance.

If you have any questions or concerns in relation to this survey, please contact Dr Danielle Ní Chróinín on

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