PCHD Council 2014 end-of-year communiqué

Read about the latest key activities of the Paediatrics & Child Health Division (PCHD) Council for the second half of 2014.

Dear Fellow and trainee members,

I have been in the role of PCHD President for seven months and it is my pleasure to bring to you the end of year Council Communiqué that outlines numerous achievements of the Division in 2014. I hope that you like the new template for Pot-pourri!

I would like to acknowledge that deliberations continued this year on options for Paediatrics in to the future. These discussions are a natural means of ensuring the Division runs well and is effective in contributing to the health and wellbeing of children and young people.

In light of the proposed Board governance model as well the ongoing work to establish a paediatric society the February meeting of the Division Council and specialty society representatives will focus on these matters. Prof Kevin Forsyth, the Lead Fellow of the external working group of paediatricians will attend and will scope whether those in attendance support the concept of an ‘Academy of Paediatrics’. Such an Academy might provide a variety of functions such as policy and advocacy, the running of a scientific conference and delivery of continuing professional development. The capacity for other functions of the College to migrate to the Academy over time will also be discussed. You will be engaged on this next year.

We are keen to communicate this to you so please keep reading Pot-Pourri for the updates. In the meantime please ensure that you are aware of the collateral provided by the RACP on the proposed new governance model of the RACP.

Note: You can access the end of year messages of the PCHD Committees for a comprehensive update specific to those committees. In particular please read the New Zealand end of year communique as this one tends to be Australia-centric. In addition refer to the PCHD Year in Review 2014 for a month by month account of division involvement and success in the health and wellbeing of children and young people.

Education & training

The highest priority for the RACP this year was the re-accreditation by the AMC and MCNZ. A number of us were involved with meetings; others were involved with the National Examination Panel Calibration Day and Clinical Examinations that were accredited, and more. Thanks to Dr David Thomas, Chair of PCHD Education Committee (PDEC) for his significant contribution.

It is great that paediatrics is at the forefront of the Basic Training Curriculum Review. Following substantial work by the Community Child Health Specialty Advisory Committee (SAC) an ‘EPA Pilot – Advanced Training in Community and Child Health’ will run during the first six months of the 2015 training year. The results of this pilot will inform the further development of and implementation plan for EPAs for Basic Training. Congratulations to the SAC led by Dr Terry Donald for being a part of this important initiative for the College. Thanks also to Dr Mick O’Keeffe who continues to provide strong leadership on this front.

Implementation of the education governance review continues. The related working group includes Dr David Thomas as well as the immediate-past PCHD President, A/Prof Susan Moloney. The new PDEC Terms of Reference are close to approval as are a number of other paediatric education committees; you will hear about this in the New Year!

Please take a look at the Working With Young People online resource. Following an upgrade this year the resource is user friendly and non-College members now have access.

Congratulations to the paediatrics candidates who sat the written exam and clinical exams this year. The average pass across Australia and New Zealand for the written exams this year is 80% and for the clinical exams 70% (see ‘Members’ below for the number of new Fellows in 2014).

Note: The PCHD Education Committee end of year communique will be available in 2015.


Congratulations to Dr Andrew Kennedy, Chair of the Adolescent & Young Adult Medicine Committee (AYAMC) and all involved with finalising a draft application for the recognition of Adolescent & Young Adult Medicine as a field of specialty practice. Refer to the AYAMC Communique for further detail.

A reminder the Paediatric Self-Assessment Portal was de-commissioned this year; thanks to those of you who contributed to the Portal over the years. Fortunately College work occurring in this space will see improved learning opportunities so that professional development needs are met.

Policy & Advocacy

Prof Chris Baggoley, Australian Chief Medical Officer (CMO) continues to seek advice from the PCHD/RACP and he again attended the annual Division Council meeting with paediatric specialty society representatives in February. We provided advice on sudden cardiac death of young people as well as the use of maternal antenatal dexamethasone treatment to prevent or reduce virilisation of the fetus in relation to intersex people. In addition we nominated Dr JimMcGill to the governments Newborn Bloodspot Screening working group as well as nominated A/Prof Susan Moloney as the RACP representative to the Australian Governments CT Scan Project Reference Group. The latter is a good continuation of activity on this matter from the previous year; we are currently commenting on a parent brochure related to CT scans.

We have also further established the Division relationship with Ms Megan Mitchell, the [Australian] National Children’s Commissioner. Ms Mitchell attended the annual function with the Council and specialty societies in February and I, along with Dr Sarah Dalton held a further meeting in September – refer to the item in the RACP October News. It is clear that we can contribute to the Commissioner’s work and I am very pleased that the recently released annual Child Right’s Report 2014 echoes this year’s submission in which we highlighted that the leading cause of death in 15 to 24 year olds is deliberate self-harm. Our submission was quoted numerous times. Read more here.

The Division continues to contribute to College advocacy on the health and wellbeing of refugees including a letter to the government to note the College’s displeasure with the closure of the Independent Health Advisory Group for refugees. Dr Karen Zwi represented the RACP at the Australian Human Rights Commission national inquiry in to the impact of immigration detention on children in March. The College media releases provide further insight on activity in this area.

Across Australia and New Zealand the Division has contributed to a range of topics including restricted birthing practices, mental health, intellectual disability, bed-sharing and co-sleeping, end-of-life care, infant formula, alcohol, gastrostomy tubes, imaging referral guidelines, stem cell therapy, multi-vitamins to children, inappropriate marketing to children, physical punishment of children, vulnerable children, poverty, early years, oral health/fluoridation of water, infant and maternal health indicators, strategic health framework for children and young people.

You will find further detail of policy and advocacy activity in 2014 via:

  • The PCHD Policy & Advocacy Committee (PPAC) communique.
    Thankyou to Dr Jacqueline Small for her leadership in the development of position statements of importance to the Division – there is a huge amount of work underway
  • The New Zealand End of Year Communique
  • The 2014 Policy & Media Outputs
  • The Division related position statements
  • RACP media statements


Well done to the PCHD Research Committee (PRC), chaired by Prof Paul Coldtiz on the PCHD Statement on Research for Children and Young People, September 2014. The PRC ensured that the paediatric research perspective was voiced to the RACP Ethics Review.

This year the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit (APSU) developed a resource for systematic reviews and this has been linked to the Australian Paediatric Research Network (APRN) resource ‘How to Conduct Research’. This is available via the RACP MyResources gateway. Fellows who find the resources relevant to their scope of practice are eligible to claim this under MyCPD – Category 1: Research at 1 credit per hour.

Congratulations to the following paediatricians who have won awards, prizes and similar in 2014:

PCHD Awards 2014

  • Dr Jane Harding presented ‘The life-long legacies of perinatal management’ at the College Congress and was presented the 2014 Howard Williams Medal.
  • Dr Andrew Hardy - Procedural and resuscitation requirements for paediatricians working in a non-tertiary centre: Implications for training, The Wiley New Investigator Award.
  • Dr Caroline Mahon - Increased Incidence of Pleural Empyema in New Zealand Children: A Retrospective Review of Paediatric Empyema and Parapneumonic Effusion in South Auckland 1998-2012, Rue Wright Memorial Award.
  • Dr Rachel Noovao - Investigating Fragile X Syndrome in Paediatrics - can we rationalise our current practice?, Best Poster Prize in Paediatrics & Child Health.

College Awards – paediatrics

  • Dr Sarah Curnow, the 2014 College Examination Medal in Paediatrics & Child Health for best overall performance in the combined Written and Clinical Examination.
  • Dr Marie Rauter - Findings from comprehensive health screening of children in out-of-home care: The health of 4-6 year olds in southern Tasmania compared to peers, RACP Trainee Research Award for Excellence in the field of paediatric medicine.

Congratulations to the paediatricians who were recipients of various RACP awards: Dr Yvonne Anderson, Dr Mary Berry, Dr Emily Blyth, Dr Philip Britton, Dr Sally Kellet, Dr Natalie G. Martin, Dr Dylan A. Mordaunt, Dr Johan Morreau, Dr Joshua Osowicki, Dr Bhavna Padhye, Dr Kenneth Pang, Dr Bryony Ryder, Dr Tobias Strunk, and Dr Moya Vandeleur.

Further congratulations to Prof Ingrid Sheffer who was recently co-jointly awarded the 2014 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science for her contribution to the study of epilepsy, its diagnosis, management and treatment, as well as A/Prof Elizabeth Elliott who was announced in the NHMRC Ten of the Best 2013 for research on influenza early this year.


Congratulations to the 117 new Fellows across Australia and New Zealand! I hope to see you at the prestigious College Ceremony in May 2015.

The paediatric component of the College Congress in May was well received with topics including obesity, epigenetics, neonates, respiratory, adolescent & young adult medicine, neurology, infectious diseases, and dermatology. The paediatric working group led by Dr Catherine McAdam did a sterling job in pulling the program and related activities together.

The Chapter of Community Child Health Satellite Day, held on the Sunday prior to Congress had an excellent program, including a presentation from Russell Wills the New Zealand Children’s Commissioner.

My first duty as PCHD President was at the PCHD Annual Dinner in May; it was eventful and fun! This was followed by a more formal introduction as A/Prof Susan Moloney handed over the Division medal at the PCHD Annual Meeting. I was unable to attend the 36th Asia-Pacific Paediatric Association meeting in China in October however our report was appreciated.

For the first time the table of contents of the Journal of Paediatrics & Child Health were sent electronically! We hope that you are enjoying this. Thanks to Prof David Isaacs, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal as well as Dr Chris Elliot , Online Editor of the Journal.

A reminder that in January Professor Christine Bennett, Professor Glenn Marshall, Dr John Vance and Dr Peter Martin Winterton received 2014 Australia Day honours. Dr Bob McGregor and Dr Zsuzsoka Kecskes were the recipients of Senior Australian of the Year and Australian of the Year for their respective state and territory. Congratulations also to Fred Chaney, our previous president's father for becoming Senior Australian of the Year.

Later in the year, the following paediatricians received Australian Queen’s Birthday Honours :

Officer (AO) in the General Division

Professor Heather Elizabeth Jeffery, Professor Terence Michael Nolan, Professor Ingrid Eileen Scheffer, Professor Martin Silink.

Member (AM) in the General Division

Professor Nadia Badawi, Dr James Allan Mawdsley.


In line with the College election cycle I took on the role of PCHD President in May this year. Thank you very much to my predecessor A/Prof Susan Moloney who continues to make a significant contribution to the College. Much of the activity outlined above is a continuation of the work that Sue established or undertook to achieve.

Dr Sarah Dalton took on the role of PCHD President-Elect and I thank her for incredible input to date. Prof Paul Colditz joined me as the other PCHD representative on the RACP Board, as well as becoming the Chair of the College Research Committee.

This year A/Prof Simon Clarke retired as the Chair of the AYAMC having fulfilled three terms of two years each. It is under the guidance of A/Prof Clarke that AYAM matters have a voice within the College, and the new incumbent (and now Council member) Dr Andrew Kennedy has continued in this vein.

Further, Dr Adrian Trenholme concluded as the Chair of the New Zealand PCHD Committee and the Council welcomed Dr Jeff Brown.

The College Trainees Committee nominated Dr Melanie Fentoullis and Dr James Hodges as the trainee representatives to the Council; it is great to have those roles filled.

Dr Nitin Kapur took on the role of Elected Fellow (casual vacancy) in November and we look forward to his involvement.

Thanks to the ongoing elected Fellows Dr Catherine Choong, Dr Garry Inglis, Dr Divyesh Mehta, Dr Andrew Watkins, and Dr Hamish McCay (New Zealand). Thanks also to Dr Jacqueline Small (PPAC), Prof Paul Colditz (PRC), Dr David Thomas (PDEC), Dr Chris Pearson (CCCHC), Dr Nicholas Cheng (CPD) for their fantastic contribution this year also.

As outlined at the beginning of this communique the Council continually reviews its governance to ensure its effectiveness in contributing to the health and wellbeing of children and young people. Following the September Council meeting the PCHD Executive Committee has been re-invigorated including an update to clause 4.2 of the PCHD By-law. This means all the Chairs of Committees reporting to the Council are represented.

A key task of the Council is to set the strategic direction and priorities for the Division. These are captured on the PCHD Plan 215 (note the Plan requires Board approval in early 2015).

Council 2015 Meetings:

  • Thursday 12 February (with specialty societies) and Friday 13 February (face-to-face)
  • Wednesday, 15 April (teleconference)
  • Thursday 25 June (planning day) and Friday 26 June (face-to-face)
  • Wednesday, 14 October (teleconference)

PCHD Committee communiqués

For information on key activities of the PCHD Committees, please visit their pages:

Have a wonderful time over the festive season! I look forward to representing the Paediatrics & Child Health Division again in 2015.

Dr Nicki Murdock, President
Paediatrics & Child Health Division
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