Pot-pourri eBulletin 5 April 2019

President's Message

I extend my heartfelt condolences to those affected by the Christchurch tragedy on Friday, 15 March. My thoughts are with the families, children and friends of those who died or were injured. We also extend our concern to colleagues who were involved in the emergency care of patients. The change in New Zealand gun laws that must be enacted is a small comfort at this devastating time but an important move forward to limit the possibility of a repeat incident.

World Autism Awareness Day was on Tuesday, 2 April. A National Guideline for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Australia was released in 2018 with the aim of creating greater consistency in diagnostic practices across the country. Paediatricians play a vital role in the diagnosis and ongoing care of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and it is important that we uphold these guidelines. The RACP submission to the National Guidelines can be found here

As I mentioned last month, the College has been collaborating with both the National Aboriginal Community Control Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) to respond to the issue of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth suicides. The RACP released a media statement on this with an article published in the Sydney Morning Herald. I would like to thank Paediatrician Dr Mick Creati for being the RACP spokesperson and advocating for some of our most vulnerable children around the nation.

The PCHD Council met face-to-face a few weeks ago. Associate Professor Mark Lane joined the meeting with RACP Board members Professor John Wilson and Dr Jacqueline Small. The Council discussed the Ferrier Hodgson Report on the Computer-Based testing exam failure. There has been pleasing progress by the College in addressing the recommendations in the report with a strong commitment from the Board to strengthen processes and systems for College exams. There is still much more to be done and the Council is committed to playing an active role in assisting with these changes and ensuring our trainees are well supported. Other items of discussion included the International Strategy work underway in the College, solidifying our relationship with the College Council and strengthening individual capacity for policy and advocacy, with a specific new resource to be rolled out shortly.

If any member would like to raise an item of concern or discussion for the PCHD Council, I urge you to email Paed@racp.edu.au. We are here to support you and will investigate all matters and respond as soon as possible.

Professor Paul Colditz
President, Paediatrics & Child Health Division

PCHD Annual Meeting at Congress 2019

All Paediatrics & Child Health Division Fellows and trainees are invited to attend the PCHD Annual Meeting, to be held at RACP Congress 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, 7 May at the Aotea Centre’s Hunua Rooms 1 & 2, commencing at 12.40pm with lunch provided to attendees.

Join your fellow members as Professor Paul Colditz, President of the Division, presents highlights from the year so far, current projects, and looks ahead to future key priorities. There will be a chance to raise other business on the day and to ask questions, so please come along with a view to getting actively involved in the business of your specialty division.

Register now for Congress 2019 – see the full program for information on sessions addressing topics such as obesity, early childhood, cutting-edge research, transition from paediatric to adult care, and much more. We look forward to seeing you there.

What makes a good life? New Zealand kids speak up

In 2018 the New Zealand government embarked on developing a Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy, a wide reaching policy endeavour that is still underway. Many of our New Zealand RACP colleagues have been involved in the consultations and submission processes that occurred last year.

One of the exciting approaches has been the direct engagement of children and youth to learn of their views about wellbeing and their current experience. This work was led out of the Office of the Children’s Commissioner and Oranga Tamariki (Ministry for Children).

A diverse group of 6,000 children and youth were surveyed using online and face-to-face methods. While the majority of participants reported they were doing well, a significant number face major challenges at times across multiple domains of their life experience. 10 per cent reported they were facing multiple issues. Through the survey and a direct ‘post card’ system they had the opportunity to speak directly to our political leaders. Some common threads were identified: change is needed, family and whānau are crucial, the bare basics are not enough, schools have a significant impact, and communities have a part to play.  Many commented that they were grateful to be asked their viewpoint and were hopeful that this would make a difference.

The responsibility now is for our leaders, communities, services and individuals – us – to make the necessary changes to meaningfully improve wellbeing, with a focus on those currently experiencing multiple adversity. We need to respond to our children’s aspirations. The full report can be downloaded on the Children's Commissioner website

Dr Tim Jelleyman FRACP
Community Paediatrician, Child Health Team, Waitemata DHB

Changes to the recommendation for the optimal timing of antenatal pertussis vaccination

The Australian Immunisation Handbook recommendation for the optimal timing of antenatal pertussis vaccination has been changed, following review of the evidence for antibody transmission during pregnancy. The change provides a longer time-window for pregnant women to be vaccinated, stating that optimal timing for vaccination is between 20 to 32 weeks (previously 28 to 32 weeks).

All pregnant women are recommended to have a single dose of pertussis vaccine in every pregnancy, including pregnancies that are closely spaced, to provide maximal protection to every infant. Recommendation by a healthcare provider has been shown to be the most significant factor in a pregnant woman’s decision to get vaccinated. It is important that healthcare providers are aware of the current recommendations and how to communicate them to pregnant women.

For more information about the changes and links to the Australian Immunisation Handbook, please go to the Department of Health’s website.

Regulation and importation of human milk products

The Food Regulation Standing Committee has requested advice from the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC) on the regulation and importation of human milk products.

In response, a National Working Group has been established with representation from each jurisdiction of Australia as well as New Zealand.

The project will run throughout 2019 and is being co-led by the Commonwealth Department of Health and the Western Australian Department of Health, reporting to AHMAC’s Clinical Principal Committee.

For further information on the project, please contact the Human Milk Project Secretariat at ChiefMedicalOfficer@health.wa.gov.au.

Document Update – Informing the Stillbirth National Action Plan

Some important changes have recently been made to the Informing the Stillbirth National Action Plan. This includes updates to Priority 5: Supporting Bereaved Parents. In addition to a number of content changes to Action 5.1, a new action plan has been submitted which addresses the critical need to expand the provision of support for bereaved parents (Action 5.2).

The draft document informing the Stillbirth National Action Plan will continually develop over the coming months and we encourage you to visit the Stillbirth Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) website to stay informed on the progress. 

Autism National Guideline Adherence and Implementation Project

Are you currently involved in the assessment and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders in Australia?

If so, please participate in a survey that will aim to understand your current assessment and diagnostic practices. This survey will take approximately 20-30 minutes for most professionals, and a maximum of 50 minutes (depending on the breadth of the assessment types that you offer in your practice and the number of optional questions you choose to answer). At any time, you can save your responses and return to the survey later.

The National Guideline for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorders in Australia was recently released to attain greater consistency in clinical practices across the country. The Guideline recommendations have been approved by Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council.

We are interested in assessing current adherence to the Guideline recommen­dations. Identifying current adherence will help us identify areas to focus imple­mentation activities. The findings may lead to allocation of resources to reduce barriers and increase facilitators to adopting the Guideline recommendations. Your participation is key to this process.

To participate, complete the survey online.  

If you have any questions or would like to share your experiences filling out the survey, contact Anindita at Anindita.karajagi@research.uwa.edu.au

Draft report of the Specialist and Consultant Physician Consultation Clinical Committee of the Medicare Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce

Members have recently expressed interest in the recommendations of the draft report of the Specialist and Consultant Physician Consultation Clinical Committee of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce. The full report is available on the Department of Health website. 

The recommendations in this report will have significant implications for the way specialist and consultant physicians work in the future. Accordingly, the RACP Policy and Advocacy team has been inviting member input through various channels and will be developing a submission. If you have any questions on the report or wish to share any thoughts, please email racpconsult@racp.edu.au. The external deadline for submissions is Friday, 17 May. Policy and Advocacy is planning on developing a draft response well in advance of this date to share with respondents.

The National Cancer Screening Register

The National Cancer Screening Register (the Register) is a national electronic infrastructure for the collection, storage and reporting of data for the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP). From November 2019, the Register will begin supporting the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP), creating one record per participant for the two programs. From 2020, the Register will also feature integration with practice management software and online participant and healthcare provider portals.

More information is available on the Register website.

Preventing Overdiagnosis 2019 Conference 

The December conference in Sydney, Australia will include a number of lively plenary debates about controversial and timely issues, involving high-profile players from across the healthcare landscape. 

There will be parallel panel sessions covering themes such as genomics, commercial determinants of health, and overdiagnosis and the media. 

We're also pleased to share that RACP Fellows Professor Robyn Ward and Professor Rachelle Buchbinder will be presenting at this exciting event.

More information is available on the conference website.

Funding available for women's leadership development 

Women & Leadership Australia is administering a national initiative to support the development of female leaders across Australia’s health care sector. 

The initiative is providing women with grants of between $3,000 and $7,000 to enable participation in a range of leadership development programs. 

The scholarship funding is provided with the specific intent of providing powerful and effective development opportunities for women in the health care sector; however the funding is strictly limited and has to be allocated prior to the end of this financial year.

Find out more and register your interest by completing the Expression of Interest form before Friday, 7 June.

Genomic medicine here to stay? Have your say.

Researchers from the Australian Genomics Health Alliance would like to hear from non-genetic medical specialists who work clinically in Australia.

They want to know about past, present and future aspects of genetics and health, including genomics in healthcare. It doesn't matter if you do or don’t know much about these areas, or don’t incorporate them into your practice at the moment.

By participating you will help shape future workforce practices and continuing education and training programs.

If you’re interested,  please complete this anonymous survey by Friday, 31 May 2019.

If you have any queries, please contact Dr Amy Nisselle, Specialist Project Officer, Australian Genomics Health Alliance at amy.nisselle@mcri.edu.au or +61 3 9936 6340.

This survey is an activity of the Workforce Development Program of the NHMRC funded Australian Genomics Health Alliance.

This survey has Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) approval, The University of Melbourne (1646785.8).

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”.

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