PCHD Council 2016 end-of-year communiqué

Read about the latest key activities of the Paediatrics & Child Health Division (PCHD) Council for the second half of 2016.


Dear Fellow and trainee members,

Yet again it is another busy year with many achievements for the Division.

A very exciting development this year is the offering of a dual training pathway for AYAM. The course will start February 2017 across Australia and New Zealand. The Council is very supportive as this is sure to bring many benefits to the AYAM community. The PCHD Education Committee, Chaired by A/Prof Paul Fullerton, as well as the Adolescent & Young Adult Medicine Committee, Chaired by Dr Rod McClymont provided support to this initiative which is sure to bring many benefits to the AYAM community. Well done to all involved.

This year the 2016 PCHD Written Examination was held across 15 locations throughout Australia and New Zealand. There were 271 Paediatrics & Child Health candidates and the pass rate was 71%. Likewise the PCHD Clinical Examination was held across 28 locations throughout Australia and New Zealand. There were 242 Paediatrics & Child Health candidates and the pass rate was 77%. The move to hold the clinical examination from July to May was received very well as it allowed trainees and supervisors more flexibility and time during the winter months.

The Division contributed to the College review of the basic training curriculum. Child protection and the mental health of children were put forward for consideration. The Division also remains involved with the development of education policies including ‘Capacity to train’ and ‘Selection into training’.

This year we collaborated with the paediatric specialty societies on two key matters: the Model of Collaboration and EVOLVE. The Model of Collaboration is an initiative in which the Division and societies outline areas of interaction and interdependence across education, policy & advocacy, CPD, research and more. The response is very positive to this endeavour.

The EVOLVE initiative identifies the top 5 low value practices and interventions. The paediatrics list was launched this year - I encourage you to read it and take the messages on board. To further progress the paediatric specialty lists a paediatric EVOLVE masterclass was held in November to a packed room hosted by Dr Norman Swan. I am really pleased with the uptake of this initiative and I look forward to the development of more lists.

We also collaborated internationally. Dr Murdock represented the Division at the Asia Pacific Pediatric Association (APPA) business meeting that was held in January during the 15 Asia Pacific Congress of Pediatrics and 2016 Pedicon Conference in India. Subsequently the PCHD International Grant – Asia-Pacific Region has been communicated via the International Pediatric Association and will soon be published in the APPA news bulletin. We also submitted a joint survey response with the National Centre for Immunisation Research & Surveillance (NCIRS) to APPA on immunisation practices.

A/Prof Susan Moloney represented the Division at the meetings of the International Pediatric Association (IPA) held in August during the International Congress of Pediatrics in Canada. Since then the College lent its support to the #ProtectChildOfWar campaign by the IPA and the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect.

In a similar vein the Division remains very active in advocating for the fair treatment of refugees. Revelations of child abuse at the Nauru detention centre from leaked reports as highlighted by The Guardian, disturbing footage on ABC 4Corners, and damning reports from the United Nations and Amnesty International yet again show that children and young people are suffering horrible abuse, physically and mentally, in immigration detention. We will wait and see what the outcome is of the recent Government discussions with the USA President to move detainees to America.

It was also shocking and horrific to find out about the abuse of male teenagers in a Northern Territory youth detention centre. The RACP responded immediately, calling for support for victims and a repeated call for Australia to ratify the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. The Division has participated in the RACP submission to the Royal Commission in to the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.

The Role of Paediatricians in Mental Health Care of Children and Young People position statement was launched in October during the Australian National Mental Health Week. Congratulations to Dr Chris Pearson (Lead Fellow) and the working group as well as the PCHD Policy & Advocacy Committee chaired by Dr Jaqueline Small. Subsequently the Division has been involved in an RACP submission to the consultation on the Australian 5th National Mental Health Plan.

There is a long list of contributions that the Division has made to advocacy and policy initiatives, whether via submissions or representation on working groups or at meetings. Topics are varied and include child access to pornography on the internet, regulation of infant formula, smoke-free playgrounds, protection and detention of children and young people in the Northern Territory, the review of the NSW Guardianship Act 1987, parenting and caregiving practice and behaviours with regard to the social and emotional development and wellbeing of infants, the Queensland Sexual Health Strategy 2016-2021, use of antidepressant medications in children and adolescents, essential elements for safe and high-quality paediatric end-of-life care, mental illness, and vitamin K administration to newborn infants.

For more information please see Policy & Media Outputs 2016.

This year’s College Congress, held in Adelaide included sessions on important issues such as the role of paediatricians in treating child and young adult mental health, an interactive session on dealing with sexual health issues facing adolescents and young adults, trauma support, child protection, and innovative technologies for managing paediatric burns. Professor Dinah Reddihough gave the Howard Williams Medal oration and the Rue Wright Memorial Award and the Best Poster Prize in Paediatrics were awarded. Thank you to all involved in developing the program and making this a great event.

I would like to acknowledge the fantastic contribution that Dr Nicki Murdock made to the Division; Nicki handed over the medal and duties of PCHD President in May this year at the Annual Meeting held during RACP Congress. Dr Murdock remains involved with College activity particularly in the capacity to train project.

I am thankful for the ongoing contribution to paediatrics at the College by Prof Paul Colditz – he is now the PCHD President-Elect and remains involved with the College Research Committee. He is however stepping down from his role as the Chair of the PCHD Research Committee in May 2018.

Thank you also to the PCHD Council that provides tremendous support to me as well as participation in a range of matters related to the health and wellbeing of children and young people. There is a good mix of new Council members as well as long standing members who provide great corporate knowledge. I would also like to recognise the outgoing Council members who provided support to Dr Murdock during her Presidency.

I encourage you to read the PCHD Committee communiques (see below) for further details to the activity and achievements of the year.

Finally I would like to take a moment to focus on the upcoming goals of the Division. Earlier this year the PCHD Council met and developed a new Work Plan that spans four years and aligns to College strategy. It is really exciting to be setting long term goals with activities that will be reviewed and Paediatrics & Child Health Division updated each year. The Goals are: Promote the Health and Wellbeing of Children and Young People; to Promote the Profession; and to Promote the Division.

In particular the Council is keen to articulate the unique role of a paediatrician and to define the importance of child health as a priority for Australia and New Zealand. Defining these aspects along with the purpose of the Division is important in light of the ongoing governance changes of the College, as well as external factors such as the establishment of a paediatric academy.

Engagement and communication with colleagues is very important to the Council. You may contact me or any Council member via paed@racp.edu.au

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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