Pot-pourri eBulletin 17 September 2021

President's Message

As we get used to living with COVID-19, it is important to consider the impacts on children and young people.

Whilst necessary right now in some high-risk locations in Victoria and NSW, the impacts of school closures come at a great cost to children’s development and their mental and physical wellbeing. These impacts are far greater for children and young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds, children living with disabilities, and in families where children are exposed to domestic violence. Paediatricians and physicians are seeing rising mental health issues in children, which is deeply concerning.

This issue requires urgent national leadership. We need a nationally consistent approach to keep children and teachers safe, whilst also minimising school closures. National guidelines should be developed to provide state and territory governments with a best-practice approach to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission in schools. Key measures include mandating masks for certain age groups, ventilation of classrooms including HEPA filters, staggered school starts, and physical distancing where possible.

In August, the College issued a media release calling on National Cabinet to develop a national plan to prioritise face-to-face learning for school-aged children and adolescents in the context of the Delta variant, which includes priority vaccines for all school staff. This media release received significant coverage in the press and social media.

In the past two months, we also published several media releases on vaccination of adolescents, recommending that all children aged 12 to 15 years receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination when available and encouraging high-risk children aged 12 to 15 to get vaccinated. Parents can be confident that the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines has been carefully evaluated through international clinical trials and analysis of real-world data. Paediatricians have an important role to play in advising parents and carers of children about their child’s eligibility and responding to any questions about the safety or effectiveness of the vaccine.

I also recommend this brief published by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute on COVID-19 vaccination of children and adolescents. Further information on RACP COVID-19 policy and activities can be found on the RACP COVID-19 webpage.

I’d like to extend my very best wishes to all those candidates sitting this year’s Divisional Clinical Examination (DCE) for Paediatrics and Child Health (PCH). For those undertaking the Computer-Based Testing (CBT) in the Divisional Written Examination (DWE) later this year, we understand that this time will be stressful. The College is conducting rigorous testing to ensure this is a success and I wish you the best of luck. The exams are a challenging time in every physician’s life, more so with the impacts of COVID-19 so it is important to look after yourselves and your colleagues, and if you need extra help, please see the RACP Support Program.

May I express on behalf of the PCHD Council our sincere thanks to the National Examiners and all those involved in bringing the examinations together. Taking many days out of your schedule to attend to the exams and ensure that these go smoothly is no small feat with your already busy schedules. We acknowledge and applaud your commitment.

On Thursday, 30 September 2021, we’re going to be launching one of the most exciting initiatives for our College in recent years – the RACP Online Community, or the ROC for short. The online community specifically for PCHD will go live from Thursday, 28 October 2021.

The ROC is a secure online forum for the whole College, where you’ll be able to find colleagues, post questions, share comments, start debates and discussions with all members across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. As we lead up to the launch, you can learn more about the ROC on the RACP website.

Professor Catherine Choong
PCHD President

College 'Are you COVID-19 safe?' member survey now open

Current members practising in Australia will receive a direct email inviting them to complete an internal survey. Now is the time to let us know about the impact of the COVID-19 Delta variant on your workload, workplace safety circumstances and concerns, how the healthcare system is being impacted, and importantly, where the College can direct more support.

The survey is for trainees, Fellows, private and public practitioners. With the de-identified data from the survey, the College will have an evidence base with which to advance our advocacy efforts on members’ safety and protection needs, and associated priority areas, as advised by you. The survey is short and to the point, taking 9-15 minutes.

Members are advised that an internal report will be prepared using de-identified data only, no individuals will be identified at any stage, and that summary data using de-identified data may be produced for external reporting (for example in the media, to the Australian Government, Commonwealth and State/Territory Departments of Health).

The deadline to complete the survey is close of business Monday, 4 October 2021. For further information or if you did not receive a link to the survey, please email racpconsult@racp.edu.au.

ROC

Rue Wright Memorial Award – deadline extended to Friday, 24 September 2021

The Rue Wright Memorial Award is presented to the applicant who best demonstrates excellence of hypothesis, scientific merit and relevance to community child health in an oral presentation. The successful presenter will receive a certificate and AUD$1,500.

This year the presentations will be held via webinar on Tuesday, 26 October 2021.

See the RACP website for further information. Applications now close on Friday, 24 September 2021.

College Medals and Awards

Recognise your colleagues for their outstanding contributions and achievements.

As a result of the current challenges caused by the pandemic, the closing date for nominations has been extended to 30 September 2021 for the following awards:

  • The John Sands Medal recognises a Fellow who makes a significant contribution to the welfare of RACP and its members.
  • The College Medal is aligned to the College motto Hominum servire saluti. It is awarded to a Fellow who makes a significant contribution to medical specialist practice, healthcare and/or health of community through physician activities.
  • International Medal recognises a member who has provided outstanding service in developing countries.
  • Medal for Clinical Service in Rural and Remote Areas recognises a Fellow who has provided outstanding clinical service in rural and remote areas of Australia or Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Mentor of the Year Award recognises a Fellow who has made an outstanding contribution to mentoring or provided a high level of support and guidance throughout training.
  • Trainee of the Year Award recognises a trainee who has made an outstanding contribution to College, community and trainee activities.

Full details are available on the RACP Foundation webpage.

Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori Cultural Competence and Cultural Safety online course

Our self-paced online cultural competence and cultural safety course supports the provision of culturally competent and culturally safe, best practice medicine for Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori patients. The course facilitates reflection on our own cultural values so that we can recognise their influence on our professional practice, while also exploring how cultural safety principles can be applied to improve Indigenous patient health outcomes and experience of care.

Developed by experts and RACP Fellows, this adaptable course features a mix of in-depth content, video scenarios, reflection and discussion activities and recommended supporting materials.

New online course: Specialist Care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

This new self-paced online course has been designed to help physicians and trainees better understand the RACP’s Medical Specialist Access Framework and take steps to apply its principles in their daily practice, with the aim of addressing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s inequitable access to specialist healthcare by connecting stakeholders involved in delivering specialist medical care. The course focuses on steps that individual practitioners can take, highlighting successful case studies of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people accessing specialist care.

ANZPID Statement: “COVID-19 and effects on children”

The Australian and New Zealand Paediatric Infectious Diseases group (ANZPID) has released a statement reassuring the public regarding the effects of COVID-19 on children, stating: “The ANZPID group would like to reassure children and their parents that while the COVID Delta variant has shown that children are able to be infected and transmit COVID-19, COVID-19 is and generally remains a mild infection in children”

The full media release is available via the Australian Society for Infectious Disease’s website.  

The National New Fellows’ Online Forum

Tuesday, 19 October, 7pm to 8.30pm (AEDT)

Are you an Australian-based final year Advanced Trainee or New Fellow? You’re invited to a free online event to support you on your journey through Fellowship: the RACP National New Fellows’ Online Forum.

Topics include:

  • On the threshold of consultant practice: The nuts and bolts, dollars and sense
  • Introduction to CPD: A step-by-step process for New Fellows
  • The things I wish I knew when I was new: Hear from a recent New Fellow about what to expect
  • Medico-legal issues: The blurred lines between personal and professional in social media - Case studies and how this directly relates to New Fellows
  • Panel discussion: Navigating the next stage of your career, led by experienced Fellows.

Secure your ticket and register today

New RACP video series highlights physicians in remote Australian communities

Practising rural and remote medicine offers opportunities, career progression and a lifestyle simply not available in Australia’s big cities. Our fascinating new series of short videos 'In our Own Words', is about the critical role our Fellows and trainees fulfil in providing healthcare to small towns, the regions and remote Australia, via the Specialist Training Program (STP). 

This month, we’re highlighting the work of Dr Kirsty Neal, General Medicine and Endocrine Specialist and former STP trainee – Alice Springs Hospital.

The STP is a funding initiative of the Australian Government Department of Health. 

There are around 900 STP-funded training positions across Australia, managed by 13 medical colleges. The RACP currently manages around 380 positions. 

With funding from the Commonwealth Department of Health, we’re increasing awareness and understanding of the Program. Our members tell their own stories, what it has meant to them and the communities they serve.  

Evolve Webinar Series September session: Prescribing cascade – Improving the trickle down

Unsafe medication practices and medication errors have been identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as leading causes of injury and avoidable harm in healthcare systems across the world. Patient safety is every clinician’s priority.

Join this important session on Tuesday, 21 September 2021 from 6pm to 7pm (AEST), 8pm to 9pm (NZST), led by Dr Genevieve Gabb with speakers Professor Jennifer Martin and Dr Chris Cameron, to discuss the common causes of physician induced harm.

Register now

New FAQs on ethical relationships between health professionals and industry

The Ethics Committee has developed a set of FAQs to address ethical issues physicians commonly encounter in their relationships with industry covering the following topics:

  • Meeting with drug representatives
  • Speaking at a pharmaceutical company sponsored event
  • Funding from a pharmaceutical company to attend a conference
  • Pharmaceutical sponsorship for clinical meeting or grand round
  • Funding from a pharmaceutical company to conduct or participate in research
  • Invitation to be a member of a pharmaceutical company advisory board

These FAQs are based on and complement the RACP Guidelines for ethical relationships between health professionals and industry.

Pomegranate Health Podcast

Ep72: Modelling a Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to public attention, like never before, the work of public health physicians as well as epidemiologists, statisticians and computer modelers. The crisis has also shown how hard it is to make decisions affecting the lives of millions when there is so little evidence to go on. Models of viral spread and interventions to mitigate these have become everyday discussion points, but few people understand how hard these are to put together. In this podcast we share expert talks that were presented at RACP Congress in April and May 2021. While they precede the latest developments of the Delta strain and the National Plan to curb it by increasing vaccination rates, they clarify some of the first principles that go into creating these simulations, and the pressures of giving critical public health advice.

Guests
Professor Michael Baker FAFPHM (University of Otago) 
Professor Tony Blakely (Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne)
Professor Jodie McVernon FAFPHM (Director of Epidemiology, Doherty Institute)

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

Listen now

Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health September 2021 is available online

The Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, Volume 57, Issue 9, July 2021 is now available on the JPC Wiley page.

An early view of future articles is also available.

The Journal of Climate Change and Health: Article on ‘Paediatric societies' declaration on responding to the impact of climate change on children’ now published

Read Paediatric societies’ declaration on responding to the impact of climate change on children in Volume 4 of The Journal of Climate Change and Health

The paediatric societies represent more than one million paediatricians around the world.  The climate crisis is a child health crisis – it is hoped that paediatricians will promote the article in advance of the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland in November 2021. 

Read article

IPA Newsletter Volume 15, Issue 2, 2021

The International Pediatric Association (IPA) Newsletter, Volume 15, Issue 2, 2021 has been officially released.

This issue is the first IPA Newsletter under the new IPA leadership of term 2021-2023.  Read messages from the new office bearers, including IPA statements, and delve more into various activities and events organised by IPA and member societies across the globe by visiting the IPA website.

Blood Matters: Perioperative anaemia assessment and management in elective surgical procedures 2020 audit report

Anaemia is a major public health issue. In surgical patients, preoperative anaemia is associated with adverse outcomes, including increased length of stay, risk of infection and risk of receiving a blood transfusion (Delaforce 2020).

The National Blood Authority (NBA) Patient Blood Management (PBM) guidelines ‘Module 2: Perioperative’ (Module 2) was released in March 2012 (NBA 2012). Blood Matters conducted the 2020 audit to assess health services’ compliance with Module 2 in relation to:

  • assessment and management of reversible anaemia prior to elective surgery
  • blood conservation strategies used intraoperatively to reduce postoperative anaemia
  • post-operative strategies to manage and treat anaemia.

The audit shows that nine years after the publication of the National PBM guidelines, there is still much work to be done to implement and embed timely, quality anaemia assessment and management in the surgical groups reported.

To help address the identified gaps Blood Matters request that:

  • appropriate committees/working groups review the final report, noting recommendations and potential areas for improvement as they relate to each clinical speciality. The ‘Patient blood management checklist (pages 13 to 14)’ includes the components of a quality PBM program, and outlines how each component complies with the:

The final ‘Perioperative anaemia assessment and management in elective surgical procedures – Preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative audit report 2020’ is available for review and action.

Any queries please contact Blood Matters at bloodmatters@redcrossblood.org.au or call +61 3 9694 0102.

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.

Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity (CCOPMM) Webinar

On Tuesday, 9 November 2021, the independent Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity (CCOPMM) will be hosting 'Why CCOPMM data matters: Real life realities and opportunities to improve care for mothers and babies to see how CCOPMM data comes to life to improve the health of Victorian women and babies'.

They webinar will:

  • take a look at the four current CCOPMM PhD student research projects
  • share how CCOPMM partner with consumers in research and improvement: what was learnt as a consumer on the Safer Baby collaborative faculty
  • reflect on the impact of COVID-19 on Victorian maternity care and the CCOPMM recommendations going forward
  • discuss the CCOPMM reporting process

The CCOPMM is excited by this opportunity to share with you how the data they collect comes to life and improves outcomes for Victorian women and babies. You can view the schedule for the day and keep an eye out for registrations opening on Thursday, 30 September 2021.

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

Career opportunities 

Queensland

Join Ramsay Health Care – opportunities for Paediatricians at:

or visit www.ramsaydocs.com.au.

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

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Learn more about all your benefits through your Member Advantage platform in Australia or Aotearoa New Zealand.

If you need assistance activating your benefits account, contact the customer care team on 1300 853 352.

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.

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