Pot-pourri eBulletin 1 April 2021

President's Message

This month, Dr Chris Pearson will be chairing his final meeting of the Chapter of Community Child Health after 15 years of service to the College. Chris has been instrumental in developing the Chapter priorities and advocating for child and family health and has been a thoughtful and strong member of the PCHD. Whilst we say goodbye to Chris, I welcome Dr Paul Hotton as the incoming Chair of the Chapter. You can read more about Chris’ achievements later in this bulletin.

The clinical examinations are moving forward, all long cases are complete and short cases are well underway. I wish all trainees the best of luck after what has been a challenging year filled with uncertainty and thank the supervisors and hospital staff for their hard work and support.

The PCHD Council held its first meeting for 2021. This was a productive meeting with updates on the Education Renewal Program, how we are looking to grow the Indigenous workforce and the College's input into the National Medical Workforce strategy. Council members spoke of the important role and increasing need for adolescent and young adult physicians in the care of individuals with chronic childhood conditions. Our trainees are requiring more flexible work practices including part-time work, we considered how to accommodate and advocate for these conditions during training and subsequent employment in various health jurisdictions.

Dr Karen Kiang attended the Council meeting to discuss the important work occurring on the Climate Change Reference Group. The recent news of moving to one face-to-face meeting per year for each committee and the transition of the College journals from hardcopy is welcomed. The reduction in expenditure and carbon footprint is a significant advancement in sustainability for the College.

The RACP Congress is commencing next month, may I remind you to register to attend the in-person meeting, access the digital content or both. From clinical updates to exploring the indirect effects of COVID-19 on child health and new research from our members, this Congress allows more flexibility for members to stay informed and connected.

The Chapter Satellite Webinar series for this month will feature Dr Russell Wills who will speak on his work and experience in Aotearoa New Zealand. To register your interest please email the RACP Events team.

The COVID-19 vaccination program has commenced across Australia, with 541,761 Australians having received vaccinations by 29 March 2021. In Aotearoa New Zealand, 41,500 people have received the Pfizer vaccine (data to 24 March 2021, from the Ministry of Health). Vaccinations of frontline health workers are underway from March to May 2021. May I urge you to support and participate in the follow up and surveillance of the effects of this program and to advocate for research into effective therapies for COVID-19 infection. A critical patient group would include our paediatric and adolescent patients who have reduced immunity due to their specific conditions.

I encourage members to submit letters in response to articles in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, now that this is electronic it is far easier to start a conversation and even challenge ideas presented. Please email editor@JPCHonline.com with your submissions.

Lastly, may I wish members a safe and happy break over Easter for yourselves and your families.

Professor Catherine Choong
PCHD President

Chapter of Community Child Health Committee: update from Chair

In May this year I will step down as Chair of the Chapter of Community Child Health Committee (CCCHC). It has been a privilege and an honour to serve in this role, to be given the opportunity to help shape the direction of the specialty that I care so deeply about. I’d like to highlight some of the CCCHC’s achievements over the past few years, in no particular order.

Annual delivery of Chapter Satellite Days: we’ve seen so many illustrious speakers presenting on topics central to the care of children in our communities that it’s impossible to name them all. In early 2020 we decided to pivot to a fully online webinar program instead of a face-to-face event, and as well as achieving COVID safety compliance, this proved to be a very popular format, so much so that the webinar program is continuing in 2021 and will likely inform at least part of Satellite events in future years. The CCCH is a very broad church, scattered far and wide across our two nations, and the opportunity for all to participate in these educational events has been warmly embraced. 

Ongoing advocacy and support for training in the three key areas of CCH: child protection, child behaviour and development, and child population health. Collaboration with specialty groups in these areas has been key to ensuring trainees cover off these crucial skill sets and experience.

CCCHC has been involved in consultation on a wide range of issues, including but not limited to:

  • NDIS Act review
  • Medevac Bill
  • MBS review
  • Employment, Poverty and Health Statement of Principles
  • Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health
  • ACHI consultation on Child Digital Health Record
  • Gender Dysphoria response to the Health Minister
  • Abusive Head Trauma in Infants and Young Children.

A piece of ongoing work between the CCCHC and the College’s Policy and Advocacy Unit is the Health Care of Children in Care and Protection Services. A working group has been formed to address this matter, truly a core issue of the CCCHC’s work, and I look forward to seeing updates as the work progresses.

On that note, I wish to welcome Dr Paul Hotton to the role of Chair of CCCHC from May 2021, and wish him every success in steering the future of our efforts on behalf of Australasia’s children.

Chris Pearson

Australian Government Department of Health (DoH) update: COVID-19 Health Response – Extension of COVID-19 specialist telehealth items until 30 June 2021

As part of Australia’s COVID-19 health response the Government will extend the COVID-19 specialist telehealth items in their current form, for a further three months, from Thursday, 1 April 2021 to Wednesday, 30 June 2021. Further information about the extension of Australia’s COVID-19 health response is available via the Prime Minister of Australia’s media release.

The DoH continues to review the ongoing role of COVID-19 telehealth in supporting patients during the pandemic and plan a longer term arrangement for MBS specialist telehealth in consultation with peak medical professional groups, including the RACP.

Cancer and COVID-19 vaccines in Aotearoa New Zealand

Aotearoa New Zealand is embarking on a national COVID-19 vaccine roll out.

Before a COVID-19 vaccine can be administered in Aotearoa New Zealand, it must be approved by MedSafe. This provides assurance of its safety, quality and effectiveness. Information about the COVID-19 vaccines in general can be found at the New Zealand Ministry of Health website.

Information on the national COVID-19 roll-out strategy can also be found at the New Zealand Ministry of Health website.

Te Aho o Te Kahu has released advice for clinicians on COVID-19 vaccines and cancer. Some answers to frequently asked questions for whānau living with cancer have also been provided:

Updated PREP 2022 program requirements and COVID-19 interim changes now available online

The updated 2021 COVID-19 interim changes and PREP 2022 program requirements are now available on the relevant Basic Training and Advanced Training speciality pages.

Basic Training

Please check the eligibility criteria of each 2021 COVID-19 interim change to see if they apply to you.

There are no changes to the PREP 2022 program requirements for Basic Training in Adult Internal Medicine and Paediatrics & Child Health.

Advanced Training

Please check the eligibility criteria of each 2021 COVID-19 interim change to see if they apply to you.

The updated PREP 2022 program requirements apply to all trainees registered in a PREP program in 2022.

PREP trainees and their supervisors should familiarise themselves with the updated 2022 program requirements for their specialty to ensure you are following the correct requirements for each training year.

Congratulations 2021 Research Award Recipients

Congratulations to the Fellows and trainees of the PCHD who have been awarded 2021 RACP Foundation Research Awards:





RACP Research Establishment Fellowship

Dr Anna Francis

Queensland Children's Hospital / University of Queensland

Improving long term outcomes for children and young adults with chronic kidney disease.

RACP Research Establishment Fellowship

Dr Edward Mark Giles

Hudson Institute for Medical Research / Monash University

Interferon Epsilon as a novel epithelial regulator of host-bacterial interaction in homeostasis, infection and inflammation.

RACP Research Establishment Fellowship

Dr Ameneh Khatami

University of Sydney

Designing Optimal Phage Cocktails for Kids with Cystic Fibrosis: DOCK-CF.

Jacquot Research Entry Scholarship

Dr Rowena Lalji

The Princess Alexandra Hospital / University of Queensland

The impact of social disparity on access to care and overall health outcomes of children with chronic kidney disease.

RACP Fellows Research Entry Scholarship

Dr Joanna Lawrence

Royal Children's Hospital / University of New South Wales

Hospital sustainability – improving value of care.

The Foundation would like to express its appreciation to Professor Catherine Choong and Professor Andrew Day for their commitment to the Grants Advisory Committee and the Aotearoa New Zealand Grants Advisory Committee, as well as other Fellows whose generous contribution of time and expertise have made the review process for these awards possible:

  • Professor Stephen Alexander
  • Professor Paul Colditz
  • Professor Harriet Hiscock
  • Dr Philip Britton.

The next round of applications for the 2022 RACP Foundation Research Awards will open Monday, 3 May 2021 on the new RACP Foundation online grant portal powered by SmartyGrants. More information on awards available for this round is available at the RACP website.

RACP Congress 2021 Six Cities

Why attend RACP Congress 2021?

Exclusive access to all RACP Congress content

RACP Congress 2021 sessions will only be available to those who register. Aside from being able to live stream all sessions, registration includes six months of exclusive access to all sessions so you can watch them at your leisure.

For those who are attending one of the face-to-face events, your ticket also includes access to the entire Congress event via our live stream and the ability to access all Congress content for six months.

Along with a growing list of speakers, other great sessions coming to you at RACP Congress 2021 include:

  • 'Indirect effects of COVID-19 on child health' by Professor Harriet Hiscock
  • 'Time to positive blood culture in early onset neonatal sepsis: A retrospective clinical study and review of the literature presented' by Dr Lucy Marks

Make sure you visit the RACP Congress website to see the latest additions to the program.

Important information for those attending Congress in person

For those who are attending a one-day face-to-face event in their local city, whilst all the RACP Congress 2021 venues have a COVID VenueSafe plan, if a face-to-face event must be cancelled, those who have purchased a face-to-face ticket for that city will be switched to a virtual ticket and be refunded for the difference.

2021 RACP How will you watch

Climate change and child health

The Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health intend to publish a special issue devoted to 'Climate change and child health' by the end of 2021. Members are invited to submit contributions of up to 2,500 words, including an abstract of up to 150 words and up to 24 references. Please include three to five key points. Illustrations are encouraged, including graphs and photos. A summary illustration for key points would be especially welcome, but not mandatory. All submissions will be subject to peer review. For any queries, please contact david.isaacs@health.nsw.gov.au or jonathan.skinner@health.nsw.gov.au.

Guidelines for promoting research in Pot-Pourri

The PCHD occasionally receives requests from members and external parties to promote research activities in the Pot-Pourri. To help guide and provide transparency and fairness to the process, the PCHD Research Committee (PRC) has developed a set of questions for applicants to complete when submitting an item.

When making a request to promote research activities in the Pot-Pourri, the following questions will be asked:

  1. Does this issue align with the College Goals? These are:
    • Implement governance improvements
    • Implement education renewal
    • Improve member experience
    • Deliver the Indigenous Strategic Framework
    • Strengthen people and culture
    • Renew and uplift Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
  2. Is the topic of importance within the PCHD?
  3. Is this an Australasian, National, state, or local initiative?
  4. Is this request part of a research network?
  5. Is College involvement likely to lead to best possible outcomes for the health of the patients and/or populations?

If you have a research activity you’d like to promote to the PCHD membership, please contact the PCHD Secretariat for further details.

New online course: Physician wellbeing in challenging times

Physicians often fail to put on their own oxygen masks when dealing with the challenges and stresses that come with practising during a pandemic. This new online course explores in-depth how to better support your own wellbeing, as well as the wellbeing of your staff and colleagues through compassionate leadership. The course covers concepts, strategies, and tools to help you mitigate the impact, set healthy boundaries, prevent burnout, and build support networks during a crisis.

Enrol in the new developing effective teaching skills QStream course

Fellows and trainees of all specialities are invited to enrol in this new Qstream course, which has a mid-May start. The course is designed to provide practical strategies to help you enhance your teaching skills and effectively balance teaching with a busy workload.

You'll access in-depth case studies with questions that are sent directly to your inbox at spaced intervals over a three-week period. Each question takes just ten minutes to complete, and participants are encouraged to discuss the case studies and share opinions with others through secure, online discussion forums.

The course is designed to enhance your knowledge in adult learning, provide practical strategies to incorporate effective teaching skills into day-to-day settings, and encourage self-reflection and peer discussion.

Telehealth: Is it helpful or does it damage the patient relationship and increase your stress?

All Australian members are encouraged to attend this topical telehealth webinar held on Monday, 12 April 2021 at 7pm (ACST). Hosted by Avant Mutual, you'll understand your telehealth responsibilities, learn strategies to mitigate your risk, and hear some of the most common pitfalls and complaints. 

Artificial intelligence for healthcare webinar now on Medflix

Tune in to Medflix and watch the recording of the recent Artificial intelligence for healthcare: your questions answered webinar. Associate Professor Clair Sullivan FRACP, Dr Olivier Salvado and Professor Enrico Coiera hosted an interactive panel discussion covering key topics including how physicians can implement artificial intelligence (AI) models into clinical practice, and other technical and cultural challenges of AI.

Watch recording

Submission to the NSW Government’s Regulation to support Real Time Prescription Monitoring (RTPM) consultation paper

The RACP welcomes the Commonwealth Government and the NSW Government’s actions towards implementing Real Time Prescription Monitoring (RTPM) of targeted high-risk medications as a way of reducing harm from prescription medicines.

This submission led by the College’s Chapter of Addiction Medicine outlines potential unintended consequences of RTPM and makes recommendations to the NSW Government to ensure it meets its goal of reducing harm from opioid and other prescription medicines that can cause dependence. These recommendations include implementing wider service planning, increasing funding for addiction medicine and other evidence-based alcohol and drug treatment services, training and education for prescribers and ongoing monitoring and evaluation of RTPM.

Learn more

Evolve ‘Top-5’ recommendations on low-value practices in nephrology

On World Kidney Day 2021, the RACP and Evolve launched the latest Evolve ‘Top-5’ recommendations on low-value practices in nephrology.

Kidney function and kidney disease impact human health across an array of systems and specialities. The new Evolve recommendations on low-value practices in nephrology span and interact with a wide range of conditions, populations and disciplines.

Learn more about the newest recommendations

FASD update: report of Senate inquiry and launch of Australian Registry

Recently, the Senate Community Affairs References Committee into Effective approaches to prevention and diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) handed down its final report. The report includes 32 recommendations covering the prevention, diagnosis and management of FASD.

Key recommendations stress the need to:

  • improve data collection on FASD, including a national prevalence study and research into the cost of FASD in Australia
  • introduce Medicare Benefits Schedule items that cover the range of clinical practices involved in FASD assessments, diagnoses and treatments
  • include FASD in the Australian Government list of recognised disabilities
  • screen children and young people within the child protection and youth justice systems for FASD
  • engage with First Nation organisations to improve access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme for people in remote Australia and the development of community-led projects to prevent and manage FASD.

The Committee also urges reforms to address the broader culture of alcohol use that contributes to higher-risk consumption, including the introduction of marketing, pricing and taxation measures set out in the National Alcohol Strategy.

The report references the RACP submission to the Senate inquiry into FASD and discusses the testimony offered on behalf of the College by Professor Elizabeth Elliott.

FASD Australian Registry (FASDAR)

In related news, the FASDAR was launched recently. The FASDAR aims to maintain a central database of cases to help develop a greater understanding of FASD, inform new research and support families. FASDAR invites all health professionals who look after Australian families with children under 15 years with a FASD diagnosis to inform them about the FASDAR.

For more information, visit the FASDAR website.

Recap of World Obesity Day 2021

On World Obesity Day 2021, we joined a range of leading health organisations in a joint statement to call for new clinical guidelines for overweight and obesity. An evidence-based approach to supporting people with obesity will help improve people’s health and quality of life, reduce harmful stigma and decrease wasteful investments in ineffective approaches. The initiative was covered by the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age, Brisbane Times and WA Today, as well segments on ABC 24 and WIN News.

On 4 March 2021, our partners at the Obesity Collective hosted a series of rapid talks by speakers from across Australia who explored the many health, social and personal facets of obesity. We invite members to watch the talks at the Obesity Collective website.

A new More than meets the eye’ campaign was also launched to mark World Obesity Day. The campaign is designed to tackle one of the less known drivers of obesity and psychological harm – weight stigma. The campaign is based on focus group research completed by the Collective and the University of Sydney. The first video in the campaign shares the story of Emma whose history with obesity stigma echoes the experience of millions of Australians. Please share her story and our call for obesity guidelines with your professional networks and on social media.

Pomegranate Health podcast

Ep68: Gendered Medicine – Pain

Gender can be considered a social determinant of health in the different pressures and expectations it puts on women and men. For example, the taboos around menstruation are so profound that many young women are dangerously naive about their own reproductive health. Meanwhile, endometriosis, chronic fatigue syndrome and other conditions associated with chronic pain have a stigma around them that means self-reports are often not taken seriously by health professionals. Historic notions of hysteria have a more profound impact on medical thinking than we might imagine, and in this podcast we ask what can be done to erase these.


  • Gabrielle Jackson (Associate News Editor Guardian Australia, Author Pain and Prejudice)

Listen to podcast

Subscribe to email alerts or search for ‘Pomegranate Health’ in Apple PodcastsSpotifyCastbox, or any podcasting app.

Fellows of the RACP can claim CPD credits for listening and learning via MyCPD. For a transcript and further references please visit our website. 


Keep up-to-date with RACP events

We understand there’s a lot going on at the College and that it can be difficult to keep informed about all of the upcoming RACP events. To help make life easier, we’re introducing a new monthly event digest, which highlights the key RACP events that are coming up in the next two months. It also helps you plan ahead, by saving the date for events that will be held later in the year.

We’re hosting more online events than ever before, which is a window of opportunity for you to virtually attend events from all over Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. You will still be informed about RACP and industry events in our regular communications and can access the RACP events listing webpage at any time. This is a condensed monthly digest to make life easier for you.

You can expect to receive the event digest on the first Wednesday of each month, with the first one launching on Wednesday, 7 April 2021. Keep an eye out for it, which will feature the above banner image. We hope this makes your life that little bit easier and we look forward to seeing you at our next event.

Webinar – Using health data for practice reflection: Changing expectations on the role of data in professional development

The Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre is kicking off a series of virtual events covering hot topics in the field of practice analytics. The first webinar will be held on Wednesday, 21 April 2021 from 9am (AEST) and will explore the potential use of health data for practice reflection and professional development. The event will consider how this aligns with the Medical Board of Australia’s Professional Performance Framework. The panel will include Anne Tonkin (Medical Board of Australia Chair), Professor John Wilson AM (RACP President), Adjunct Professor Julian Archer (Executive General Manager for Education, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons), Dr David Rankin (Director Clinical Governance and Informatics, Cabrini Health) and chaired by Tim Shaw (Director of Research, Digital Health CRC).

Register now

SMS subsidy extension

On behalf of the Commonwealth Department of Health, the Australian Digital Health Agency advises that the SMS subsidy funding currently applied to the sending of electronic prescription tokens will be further extended from Wednesday, 31 March 2021 to Wednesday, 30 June 2021.

The Department and Agency are keen to work with the health sector to establish an ongoing model to support the provision of electronic prescriptions to consumers. To enable this consultation to occur, the extension of the SMS subsidy funding to Wednesday, 30 June 2021 will allow for further consideration on future funding arrangements.

It should be noted that SMS costs are specific to the provision of electronic prescription tokens to patients on their mobile phone. Alternatives exist for prescribers and dispensers to send electronic prescriptions to patients via email or through mobile applications that do not incur these SMS costs. The Active Script List, once implemented across Australia, will also provide health professionals an option for token management that will not incur the SMS charges. Innovations across the digital landscape will undoubtedly also offer other alternatives as more digital health initiatives become a reality over time.

Conferences and events

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians publishes notices of events and courses as a service to members. Such publication does not constitute endorsement or mandating of any such events or courses.

Go to the events list at any time to see what events are coming up.

Career opportunities 

Please see the College website to view all medical positions vacant.

Pot-pourri submissions welcome

To submit an article for publishing in Pot-pourri, please email paed@racp.edu.au. The article should be no more than 350 words. If you would like to submit an image with your article, it would be assumed that you have received appropriate permission to use the photo and it needs to be of high resolution, above 300 dpi. Please note that articles may need to be edited by the RACP Communications Team.

Update your details with the College

Did you know that you can now update your address details online? Simply Login to MyRACP and go to 'Edit my details'.
Close overlay