Pot-pourri eBulletin 20 August 2021

President's Message

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, also known as COP26, is the UN’s 26th climate change conference. It will be held in Glasgow, Scotland from Sunday, 31 October to Friday, 12 November 2021. The College is currently working on a report on the risks of climate change to the healthcare system with the Monash Sustainable Development Institute, the Climate and Health Alliance and nine other medical colleges. The College plans to release the report in the lead up to COP26.

The PCHD considers climate action a key responsibility of the College. The task is huge, and the consequences significant for all aspects of health and wellbeing of our children and future generations. A key component of this is to take account of wild places and to protect and restore nature and ecosystems which form the basis of our future generations’ wellbeing. Imagine a world without the Great Barrier Reef or the Ningaloo Reef or the Tasmanian Wilderness or the giant Karri trees of the southwest. These places and many more are under threat from climate change. 

The 2021 RACP Congress discussed climate change in the Pacific and the sobering effects on water supply, fisheries and habitable land. May I exhort each one of you to act on the issue of climate action and justice. Rehabilitation and recovery of these essential wild parts of our world remain within reach but the question is for how much longer.

New advice from the ATAGI has been received on vaccination of children and adolescents. The TGA has approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for use in children aged 12 to 15 years. The ATAGI has subsequently provided advice on the eligibility criteria and children aged 12 to 15 years who have an increased risk of severe COVID-19 are eligible. Further details can be read later in this newsletter.

The College Council met for the second time this year on 1 July 2021. This was a productive meeting, with Council approving membership of the Regional and Rural Physician Working Group to further develop a strategy and recommendations in this space. We received an update on the work of the Gender Equity in Medicine Working Group, discussed the physician of the future and agreed to establish a working group to explore this further, and explored climate change and sustainability issues. I am pleased to advise that the College has done considerable work around climate change and a report was tabled showing the steps our College is taking to make a difference. The College has commenced work on our next strategic plan (to take effect from 2022) and the College Council will be joining the Board at a meeting in September to further this.

Elections for a variety of College positions will take place prior to the changeover of roles in May 2022, so I am asking members to think about whether they might like to apply for vacant committee positions as they become available. One of those positions will be for PCHD President-elect, working closely with Professor Nitin Kapur, the new President from May 2022. The President-elect term is three years, to be followed by three years as President of the Division (from May 2025). More information about this role, plus other committee positions, will be made available as dates are confirmed. Please contact paed@racp.edu.au if you have any questions about future roles in the Division.

Finally, I acknowledge the difficult circumstances our trainees are facing with examinations this year. COVID-19 has caused great disruption to the exams which adds to what is an already stressful time in one’s career. I thank the supervisors and exam coordinators for their continued efforts to respond to an everchanging space and encourage trainees to reach out to a friend or mentor if they need assistance.

Professor Catherine Choong
PCHD President

MS_Member Survey 2021_600px_VOICE

RACP Member Satisfaction Survey – closing date extended

Your College, your voice. We’re listening

There’s still time to share your thoughts about the College via our Member Satisfaction Survey (MSS).  

Please complete the survey and have your say so we can understand your overall satisfaction with the College and identify areas for improvement. The survey closing date has been extended by two weeks and will now close on Monday, 30 August 2021. The survey should take no longer than 15 minutes. This is your chance to tell us how we’re doing and have your say. 

The survey is being conducted by EY Sweeney, an independent contractor. They will provide aggregated results back to us and any individual comments are not identified as coming from a specific member – your survey responses are anonymous.  

How you can access the survey 

On Tuesday, 27 July, you should have received an email containing the survey link from surveys@au.ey.com. You should have also received a reminder email from them on Friday, 13 August with a link to complete the survey. If you didn’t receive these emails, contact us. Further information about the survey is available on the RACP website.  

Find out more

Rue Wright Memorial Award – closing Friday, 10 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 close on Friday, 10 September 2021.

New ATAGI advice on vaccination of children and adolescents

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has recently approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for use in people aged 12 to 15 years.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has subsequently provided advice on eligibility criteria for vaccination with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in children aged 12 to 15 years. The Australian Government has accepted this advice, and from 9 August 2021 onwards, specific groups of children aged 12 to 15 years who have an increased risk of severe COVID-19 are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. These specific groups are:

  • Children with specified medical conditions that put them at increased risk of severe COVID-19 infection.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 12-15 years.
  • Adolescents aged 12 to 15 years in remote communities, as part of broader community outreach vaccination programs.

Paediatricians have an important role to play in supporting their patients through this process and reassuring parents that the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines has been carefully evaluated through international clinical trials and analysis of real-world data.

You can find further information in the ATAGI statement.

COVID-19 Webinar Series 2021

RACP Long COVID Webinars brought to you by the RACP COVID-19 Expert Reference Group

For some people, COVID-19 can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after infection, which is referred to as post-COVID-19 syndrome or ‘long COVID’. The RACP will be convening a set of webinars to inform members across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, on understanding the impact of long COVID and how to manage both the short- and long-term practicalities in daily life.

Understanding and managing long COVID

Thursday, 2 September 2021, 5pm to 6.30pm (AEST) / 7pm to 8.30pm (NZST)

This webinar will help participants understand the impact of long COVID and how to manage matters in the early phase. Attendees will have a better understanding of how to investigate and diagnose long COVID, and how to manage patients in the sub-acute phase of their disease.

Register now

Living and working with long COVID

Thursday, 9 September 2021, 5pm to 6.30pm (AEST) / 7pm to 8.30pm (NZST)

This webinar will allow participants to further understand the pathophysiology of long COVID, and how to manage the longer term practicalities of living and working with the consequences of this disease.

Register now

Reminder: Complete the Medical Training Survey (MTS)

The Medical Board of Australia’s Medical Training Survey (MTS) will be running for another month. Eligible participants are all doctors in training, including RACP trainees in Australia.

A survey link is provided after you renew your registration. If you miss it, you’ll find it in your Ahpra confirmation of registration email. We encourage you to complete this important survey and have your say on medical training in Australia.

About the Medical Training Survey

The MTS is a national survey of all doctors in training in Australia. Results provide a snapshot of the quality and experience of medical training in Australia. The survey is independently administered by research company EY Sweeney. The MTS is anonymous and your answers will be handled in line with the privacy policies of the Medical Board of Australia, Ahpra and EY Sweeney. Only de-identified survey data will be provided to Ahpra and the Medical Board of Australia.

Further details can be found by visiting the MTS website. If you have questions regarding the MTS, please email MTS@ahpra.gov.au.

Physician Training Survey results are now available

The results of the 2020 Physician Training Survey are now available to RACP members through an interactive reporting dashboard. You can access the dashboard through your MyRACP login.

View the Physician Training Survey 2020 Summary Report for an overview of the key findings for all physician trainees and educators and how they compare to those from 2018.

The survey results indicate that most trainee and educator respondents were satisfied with their overall training experience in 2020 and would recommend their workplace training setting to others. However, it is evident that last year, service provision took priority over education compared to previous years and educational opportunities were reduced. Ongoing issues regarding workload, wellbeing and workplace culture were highlighted once again, with increased rates of burnout, bullying, harassment and discrimination. While some of the concerning findings may be temporary impacts of COVID-19, the results highlight ongoing systemic issues that need to be addressed.

Through the Physician Training Survey, the RACP:

  • supports individuals by providing confidential support to respondents who raised wellbeing concerns through the RACP support program
  • drives improvements in training settings by providing feedback and identifying settings with results that indicate potential concerns and asking the training setting’s executives to respond to the feedback
  • informs systemic change by using results in the development of strategic approaches to improve physician training and the culture of medicine.

We thank all trainees and educators who took part in this important activity.

About the Physician Training Survey

Eligible RACP trainees and their educators were asked to reflect on their training experiences during Term 3 in Australia and Quarter 4 in Aotearoa New Zealand. 21 percent (n=1675) of trainees and 17 percent (n=907) of educators responded to the survey. The survey explored topics aligned to the Training Provider Standards. We also sought feedback on the impacts of COVID-19 on training. 

The survey is independently administered by research company ENGINE, ensuring we receive anonymous survey data only. Data is not reported where there are less than five participant responses.

Further details about the Physician Training Survey are provided on the RACP website.

If you have questions regarding the Physician Training Survey, please email us at trainingsurveys@racp.edu.au.

trainee-research-awards2020-v2

Your chance to be recognised and rewarded

Applications close Tuesday, 31 August 2021, 5pm (AEST)

Are you a trainee or a first year Fellow who would like to be recognised for your research? This is your last chance to submit your abstract for the 2021 RACP Trainee Research Awards.

This prestigious event is held annually and open to all Divisions, Faculties and Chapters. A winner from Adult Medicine and a winner from Paediatrics & Child Health will be selected from each Australian state/territory and from Aotearoa New Zealand.

The best presenters from each Australian state/territory and from Aotearoa New Zealand are invited to be part of the Research and Innovation stream at RACP Congress 2022, with complimentary registration and travel. Abstracts are also published in the Congress supplement of the Internal Medicine Journal or Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health.

For information about application, eligibility, selection criteria and process, the abstract submission guideline, the prize details and a list of past winners please view this webpage. Submit your application by Tuesday, 31 August 2021, 5pm (AEST).

Apply now

From the RACP Foundation 

Neil Hamilton Fairley Medal

The Neil Hamilton Fairley Medal is awarded by the RACP once every five years to recognise an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the field of medicine. The medal was last awarded to Professor Roger Reddel.

This prestigious award is open to both RACP Fellows, as well as individuals outside the College. However, the nominee must be nominated by a Fellow of RACP to be considered. Details on the application process and selection criteria is available on the RACP website. Nominations close on Tuesday, 31 August 2021.

College Medals and Awards

Recognise your colleagues for their outstanding contributions and achievements in their respective fields:

  • 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.
  • The Eric Susman Prize is awarded by the College to a Fellow for best contribution to the knowledge of internal medicine.

Full details are available on the RACP Foundation webpage.

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. You can watch a fascinating new series of short videos In our Own Words, 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). 

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.  

We will be releasing these to you weekly over the coming months. The videos will be available on the RACP website, where we have created a new mini-site information about the program.

Case study and research project markers needed in palliative medicine

The Training Committee in Palliative Medicine (TCPM) seeks palliative care supervisors as independent reviewers for case study and research project assessments.

The TCPM oversees Advanced Training and the Clinical Diploma in Palliative Medicine. The Committee is seeking independent reviewers for case study and research project assessments. Each case study and research project is allocated two reviewers, with administration supported by College staff.

Additional reviewers are needed to ensure that all case study and project assessments are completed within a reasonable timeframe. The limited number of reviewers nationally is likely contributing to delays in marking and trainee progression.

Voluntarily dedicating your time and expertise to mark case studies and research projects can earn you Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credits.

Read the Training Committee in Palliative Medicine Terms of Reference before applying.

To apply, submit an Expression of Interest form and your CV to PalliativeMedTraining@racp.edu.au.

If you have any restrictions as a reviewer, such as limited availability, capacity or future conflicts of interest, highlight these in your application.

Launch of second Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan in Australia

On 9 August 2021, we acknowledged International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The theme of the Day was ‘Leaving no one behind: Indigenous peoples and the call for a new social contract’. In Australia, a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is a form of social contract, which provides a structure for Australian organisations to support the national reconciliation movement, formalises efforts to achieving reconciliation and is endorsed by Reconciliation Australia.

We are pleased to launch our second Reflect RAP: July 2021 to July 2022, which is a strategic initiative of the RACP Indigenous Strategic Framework Priority 4 focused on fostering a culturally safe and competent College. The development of our RAP has an important role in supporting our Indigenous Strategic Framework’s commitment in Australia to:

  • reducing health inequities between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • increasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander physicians
  • creating a culturally safe College for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Our RAP focuses on relationships, respect, opportunities and governance. We encourage all members based in Australia to read and learn more about our latest Reflect RAP and look into how they can contribute to RAPs in their own workplaces.

Read Reflect RAP

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

This new 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.

Contribute to a new Quality and Safety Spaced Learning course

Interested Fellows and trainees are invited to submit expressions of interest to join a Working Group to develop a new Quality and Safety Spaced Learning course. The Quality and Safety Spaced Learning course will be delivered via Qstream and will comprise of six case study questions. Participants will receive case studies directly to their inbox and can complete them at a time that suits them over a four-week period. The Working Group will assist in the development and drafting of case study questions.

Find out more and apply by Friday, 27 August 2021

RACP calls for the urgent release of the National Obesity Strategy

The RACP President, the Presidents of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine and the Paediatrics & Child Health Division and the Chairs of all Regional Committees have asked the Australian Minister for Health and Aged Care, The Hon Greg Hunt, for the release of the Preventive National Obesity Strategy for an urgent final review and action.

The letter to Minister Hunt stresses the College's concern that the much-delayed strategy is at risk of becoming obsolete and ineffective if not acted on in a timely manner. The letter also notes that work on the Obesity Strategy's treatment aspects should proceed as the second phase of this critical undertaking. 

Similar letters have been issued to all Australian health ministers and Shadow Health Minister Mark Butler. The letter is part of the College's ongoing efforts to tackle the challenge of obesity in a timely and resolute manner.

Read letter to Minister Hunt

New Gwandalan e-learning for health professionals providing palliative care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Given the cultural sensitivities surrounding death, it is important that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural beliefs and practices are acknowledged and accommodated during the palliative and end-of-life care journey. The Gwandalan National Palliative Care Project aims to improve the quality of palliative care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. New free education for health professionals who provide palliative and end-of-life care to Indigenous Australians is now available.  

The training does not address clinical palliative care content, but rather supports the provision of culturally safe and responsive palliative care by upskilling frontline staff to contextualise care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and deliver services in a way which supports a good ‘finishing up’. Visit Gwandalan to register for the training

Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health early view available

The Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health early view of future articles is available.

New End-of-life law modules for doctors and other clinicians

End of Life Law for Clinicians (ELLC) has launched 10 new and updated online training modules for medical practitioners, nurses, allied and other health professionals and medical students. The training can be accessed for free at the ELLC online training portal. Some of the topics covered include: 

  • the role of law in end-of-life care 
  • capacity and consent to medical treatment 
  • withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining medical treatment 
  • Advance Care Planning and Advance Care Directives 
  • substitute decision-making for medical treatment 
  • legal protection for administering pain and symptom relief  
  • children and end-of-life decision-making 
  • futile or non-beneficial treatment 
  • emergency treatment for adults
  • managing conflict.

The modules include clinical case studies, vignettes of clinicians sharing their end-of-life experiences, legal cases and interactive learning. For further information please visit the ELLC online training portal or email endoflifelaw@qut.edu.au.  

Seeking members for the Statutory Advisory Committees and the Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee

Would you like to contribute to the regulation of therapeutic goods in Australia? Have you considered becoming a member of one of the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s committees?

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is seeking applications from medical and scientific experts to fill a number of upcoming vacancies across TGA’s Statutory Advisory Committees and the Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee. You must have expertise in relevant medical or scientific fields or experience with consumer health issues.

As a committee member you will contribute significantly towards the TGA’s regulatory functions by providing independent expert advice on matters across a broad spectrum of issues relating to medicines, devices, vaccines and other products and substances.

Further information about the roles of the committees is available at www.tga.gov.au/tga-statutory-advisory-committees and www.tga.gov.au/committee/australian-influenza-vaccine-committee-aivc.

If you have the appropriate expertise and are interested in contributing to the regulation of therapeutic goods in Australia, we would like to hear from you. The deadline for applications is close of business Tuesday, 31 August 2021.

To apply, and find out more about the appointment process, go to the Department of Health website.

Enquiries can be made by email to committee.vacancies@health.gov.au.

International Society for Social Paediatrics and Child Health (ISSOP) ebulletin

ISSOP promotes knowledge of social paediatrics to stimulate research in this field, disseminates such knowledge at meetings and works together with national and international agencies.

Check out the latest issue of the ISSOP eBulletin.

Australian Prescriber – August issue now published

The latest issue of the Australian Prescriber includes articles on:

  • safety of vitamins and minerals
  • eye effects of oral drugs
  • managing insomnia.

Read the full issue

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.

ANZSBT Webinar Series 2021 – Guideline update: Laboratory and clinical management of fetomaternal haemorrhage

The Australian & New Zealand Society of Blood Transfusion (ANZSBT) is excited to announce the next ANZSBT webinar on ' Guideline update: Laboratory and clinical management of fetomaternal haemorrhage’. The webinar is being held on Friday, 27 August 2021, 1pm to 2pm (AEST) and is kindly sponsored by the National Blood Authority.

Hear Ms Nicole Zacher (Chair, ANZSBT Transfusion Science Standing Committee) and Dr Giselle Kidson-Gerber (Haematologist, Prince of Wales Hospital and HOW Collaborative) discuss the soon to be released ANZSBT Guidelines for Laboratory Estimation of Fetomaternal Haemorrhage. They will highlight key differences between the old and new guidelines and discuss some of the controversies and challenges faced as they set about updating the guideline.

The ANZSBT is honoured to have Professor Helen Liley (Neonatologist, Mater Mother’s Hospital) present an update on the recently released Guideline for the Prophylactic Use of RhD Immunoglobulin in Pregnancy Care on behalf of the National Blood Authority.

Register now

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

Career opportunities

Queensland

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