PCHD Council 2015 end-of-year communiqué

Read about the latest key activities of the Paediatrics & Child Health Division (PCHD) Council for the second half of 2015.

Dear Fellow and trainee members,

This has been a busy and fruitful year with many achievements for the Division. My term as President will be concluding in May 2016 and I look forward to seeing the Division move forward in my final months before handing over to President-Elect Dr Sarah Dalton.

This year the Division set out to achieve a number of goals aligning our priorities with the RACP Statement of Strategic Directions. I am pleased to say that many of these objectives have been achieved or are well underway for completion in 2016 and I would like to thank the PCHD Council members for their continuous efforts.

I had the pleasure of attending the RCPCH Congress in April this year where I spoke about asylum seeker children in Australia. My talk was part of a session dedicated to ‘using a child right's approach to advocate for women and children globally'. It was pleasing to be able to convey the strong position of the RACP - that no child should be held in detention. The RCPCH is customizing the American Academy of Paediatrics program Paediatric Care Online for use in the UK to deliver high quality CPD online. This tool will be reviewed further in 2016 to consider potential Australian use.

The Division is committed to improving our international presence and in January 2016 I will be attending the 15 Asia Pacific Congress of Pediatrics and 2016 Pedicon Conference. This is a fantastic opportunity to collaborate and engage with our Asia Pacific partners to promote improved paediatric care across the region.

The Council have also endorsed a relationship between the Chapter of Community Child Health and the International Society for Social Pediatrics and Child Health (ISSOP). Formalising this relationship will improve communication and foster a positive global relationship.

The Division remains involved with education and after consultation with other College bodies, the clinical examination date has been changed from July to May 2016 allowing trainees and supervisors more flexibility and time during the winter months. The Division contributed to the Basic Training Curriculum Review and offered feedback on a number of education policies including ‘Capacity to train’ and ‘Selection into training’.

I would like to thank Dr David Thomas for his outstanding work as PDEC Chair from January 2010 – January 2016. David’s involvement has led to many improvements for paediatric education including the recent reaccreditation of the College by the Australian Medical Council and the New Zealand Medical Council. I thank David on behalf of the Division and wish him all the best for the future.

We have recently appointed the new PDEC Chair, A/Prof Paul Fullerton and welcome him to the role.

The Adolescent & Young Adult Medicine (AYAM) Committee agreed to create a dual training pathway for AYAM in light of changes to specialty recognition. The PCHD Council is very supportive of this pathway, acknowledging the importance of AYAM training and the benefits this will bring the community. Further details of the pathway will be communicated next year.

The Division continues to contribute to policy with the following three position statements being complete and launched under the Paediatric Policy & Advocacy Committee (PPAC):

This year we have remained focused on advocacy particularly focusing on children in detention and supporting the RACP Policy on Refugee and Asylum Seeker Health. We have written an open letter to Emeritus Prof Gillian Triggs, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, extending support to Prof Triggs and the Commission following the Australian government’s rejections of the report on children in detention, The Forgotten Children. Recently we wrote to Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister and to Hon Peter Dutton MP, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection regarding an asylum seeker on Nauru.

The following contributions have been made by the Division to support advocacy and policy initiatives:

  • Input to an RACP submission to the National Framework for Health Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Families
  • Input to an RACP submission to the Sexual Orientation Gender Identity & Intersex Rights Snapshot Report consultation.
  • Input to the RACP submission on the 5th periodic report to the United Nations on New Zealand’s progress under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRoC)
  • Advocacy addressing sugar-sweetened beverages in New Zealand
  • Meeting with the National Lead of the National Disability Insurance Scheme to discuss paediatric concerns.
  • Contribution to a range of topics including a consumer parent and carer resource, preventative activities, National Disability Insurance Agency quality and safeguarding, the third action plan for protecting children, use of photo and video imaging in child sexual abuse cases, female genital cosmetic surgery, newborn bloodspot.
  • Division representation on behalf of the College at external meetings including: ASCIA primary immunodeficiency resource development; ARACY Annual General Meeting; Newborn bloodspot screening policy framework – consultation; National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children: Third Action Plan Consultations; National Community Child Health Council; Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare (ACSQH) Australasian Clinical Indicator Report; Launch of the Children’s Rights Report 2015.
  • Determined new Division representation on behalf of the College on: the FASD Diagnostic Instrument Trial and Implementation project Steering Group; and the Australia Pacific Paediatric Association (APPA) Advisory Board.

For more information please see PCHD Policy & Media Outputs 2015.

This year the Division supported Fellows and trainees through Awards by means of fellowships, scholarships, grants and prizes. There are a number of awards specific to paediatrics. The Paediatric Research Committee continues to support this area and this year approved the PCHD International Grant: Asia Pacific  to assist an international medical graduate or specialist to further their knowledge in medical education or research in the field of paediatrics.

The 2016 College Congress will be held in Adelaide from 16 May – 18 May and trainees and Fellows have the opportunity to take part in a number of awards such as Best Poster Award and the Rue Wright Memorial Award. The College Congress is a fantastic opportunity to join colleagues, discuss the latest research and celebrate achievements.

I thank the members of the PCHD Council and the Committees within the Division for their hard work and diligence this year. Many positive outcomes were achieved none of which are possible without the voluntary work of the committees. View the PCHD Council membership.

PCHD Committee communiqués

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

Dr Sarah Dalton, President
Paediatrics & Child Health Division
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