Pot-pourri eBulletin 5 March 2021

President's Message

Congratulations to the following paediatricians who are the recipients of the 2021 Fellowship Committee Medals:

  • Dr Allan Kerrigan – RACP Medal for Clinical Services in Rural and Remote Areas
  • Dr David Levitt – RACP Mentor of the Year Award
  • Dr Davina Buntsma – RACP Trainee of the Year Award.

This is an excellent achievement for all of you, congratulations for your hard work and efforts in each of these areas.

The Commonwealth Government recently released a draft of the National Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy. The College, led by many paediatric Fellows, made a submission to the consultation on the draft strategy. The RACP considers the strategy to be a well-considered framework for preventing mental illness and reducing its impact on children. Many of the initiatives that the RACP has consistently advocated for, including optimising telehealth, amending Medicare items to promote collaborative care and prioritising care for children who have experienced the child protection system are captured in the strategy’s priority actions. The inclusion of these areas shows the strength of many years of advocacy from paediatricians.

As with any document, there are a range of areas where the strategy can be strengthened and changed, and our submission highlights a number of those. We now await the release of the final strategy in the coming months and I look forward to sharing it with you when it is released.

A related area which has been highlighted by recent media attention on Crown casinos is the impact of advertising on children. The impact of advertising on children is well known, and has been demonstrated for junk food, alcohol and tobacco. The College advocates very strongly on alcohol and tobacco advertising in sports, but we are yet to see government interest in working hard on tackling the harms of gambling.

An unmissable moment in the last month has been the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines in Australia. The RACP has been active in supporting the roll-out, and there are a range of resources available on the College COVID-19 vaccination webpage, which I would encourage you to look into. 

Members with an interest in contributing to the PCHD/College will welcome two new opportunities:

  • The PCHD Policy & Advocacy Committee (PPAC) is seeking a new Chair. PCHD Fellows are invited to express their interest in this very important role, the Chair will work with not only PPAC but also PCHD Council. See the RACP website for more information.  
  • The Congress Program Committee (CPC) is seeking a PCHD Fellow to be the PCHD Representative for 2022-2023. This is an excellent opportunity to feed into Congress program development broadly as well as specifically shaping the paediatrics stream, including identifying topics, speakers, and delivery formats. The successful applicant will be supported throughout the process by College and PCHD staff. To find more information or to submit an application, see the RACP website.

Speaking of Congress, this year’s program continues to develop, offering cross-College sessions on physicians’ kindness and wellbeing, as well as paediatric specialty sessions such as ‘Indirect effects of COVID-19 on child health’ and ‘Providing optimal care for trans children and young people in Australasia’. Announcements will be made regularly via email and the Pot-pourri newsletter, or check the Congress website for the latest program updates.

Clinical Professor Catherine Choong
PCHD President

RACP welcomes commencement of the Australian Government’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout

Frontline border protection, quarantine and aged and healthcare workers began receiving the first COVID-19 vaccines in Australia on 21 February 2021. The RACP welcomed the commencement of the vaccination program as an incredible achievement in Australia’s battle against the global COVID-19 pandemic.

RACP President Professor John Wilson AM said “Australia is in this position today thanks to the hard work of our frontline workers, state and federal governments, and the everyday Australians who have been doing the right thing and following the advice of health experts.”

Professor Wilson noted that the vaccines being rolled out have been rigorously assessed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and Australians should have confidence in the vaccines.

He noted that the RACP is glad to see essential healthcare workers, hotel quarantine workers and aged care and disability residents and workers at the top of the priority list when it comes to getting vaccinated. These groups are at high-risk of contracting the virus and should be prioritised.

Professor Wilson’s comments were reported in 147 online news articles and two radio interviews which were broadcast 178 times across Australia.

The RACP is continuing to support our members during the vaccine rollout through:

Submission on the draft National Children's Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy

The National Mental Health Commission (NMHC) is developing the first National Children's Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy as part of the Australian Government's Long-Term National Health Plan. The strategy, which is expected to be published in the coming months, will provide a framework to guide critical investment to improve the mental health and wellbeing of children from birth to 12 years of age.

The RACP response expresses support for the comprehensive strategy and suggests a range of enhancements, including:

  • the need to place greater emphasis on the prenatal period and early years of a child’s life, including prenatal screening for depression, anxiety and wellbeing; a universal sustained postnatal home visiting program and the provision of a universally accessible, high‐quality early learning and childcare system
  • the inclusion of specific priority actions which focus on preventing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child and youth suicide
  • consideration of the barriers to uptake of proposed parenting programs, such as self and community stigma
  • the need to ensure the strategy is fully resourced and specific timeframes for implementation outlined
  • support for the suggested model of integrated child and family care but consideration for the location of services.

As outlined in the Paediatric and Child Health Division (PCHD) position statement on The Role of Paediatricians in the Provision of Mental Health Services to Children and Young People, paediatricians play an important and often under-recognised role in caring for children and young people with mental health problems. The role of the paediatrician is particularly important in the face of limited specialised mental health services, especially in rural and remote Australia.

The RACP holds that it is imperative that paediatric knowledge and expertise is incorporated into child mental health planning at every level, and is committed to engaging with medical Colleges, professional groups, community stakeholders, including individuals and their families, and government, to develop effective and innovative models of care for children and young people with mental health problems.

Read RACP submission

Submission to the NDIS consultation paper: Supporting young children and their families early, to reach their full potential

In August 2020, the Minister for the NDIS announced a series of reforms designed to deliver improvements to the NDIS. As part of the reforms, the NDIS released a consultation paper on Supporting young children and their families early, to reach their full potential, which provides information on 23 proposed recommendations aimed to improve the current NDIS Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) approach.

The RACP strongly supports the concept of the ECEI, which acknowledges the early years as important in a child’s development and supports children with developmental delay or disability and their families to achieve their best outcomes. Paediatricians are often the first to identify health issues in children and play an important role in referring the child to the NDIS and providing the family or carer with information on the types of therapies, interventions and supports available.

The RACP welcomes efforts to improve the ECEI approach and provided a submission commenting on a select number of the recommendations proposed by the NDIS, including:

  • feedback on how the ECEI process can be better communicated and understood by families and carers
  • support for mechanisms which provide greater transparency on providers following best-practice and which enhance providers compliance with best practice standards
  • the need for clearer strategies focused on identifying and helping children and families within priority populations and how the NDIS will tailor culturally appropriate services and resources
  • consideration of the important role of medical professionals in the tailored independent assessments approach proposed to determine eligibility and budgets for participants
  • support for increasing the age limit for children accessing the ECEI approach from under seven to under nine.

The RACP is committed to advocating for all mainstream health services and programs to meet the health needs of people with disability. The RACP will continue to contribute physician and paediatrician perspectives and expertise to reforms to the NDIS which aim to improve care, health and wellbeing for people with disabilities.

Read RACP submission

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)


Due to the impact of COVID-19 we can confirm that it’s not mandatory for Fellows to record CPD activities in MyCPD for 2020, although it’s encouraged where possible.

Your 2020 MyCPD record will remain open until mid-April if you wish to record your activities retrospectively. This extension (from the usual 31 March deadline) will be applied to allow for the Easter holidays. After the extension expires in mid-April, a 2020 MyCPD certificate of completion will be emailed to those who have recorded a minimum of 100 recognised credits.


The Medical Board of Australia and The Medical Council of New Zealand have decided that medical practitioners will need to resume meeting CPD requirements from 2021. We acknowledge the complexity of your changed environment and are here to support you in completing valuable and achievable CPD this year.

Please review the 2021 MyCPD framework to ensure you are familiar with your requirements and explore the College’s CPD resources in the MyCPD Interactive Handbook and the Online Learning Resources platform.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact the CPD Team if you have any questions or feedback – we’re here to help.

AU: 1300 697 227 or MyCPD@racp.edu.au
AoNZ: +64 4 460 8122 or MyCPD@racp.org.nz

Log in to MyCPD

Join us as an RACP Accreditor

This is an exciting time to become an RACP Accreditor.

We are rolling out the new Accreditation Standards and Requirements for Basic Training in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. As an accreditor, your valuable contribution will ensure the delivery of high-quality workplace training and competent physicians, now and into the future.

Expressions of Interest are open to all Fellows in the Adult Medicine and Paediatrics & Child Health Divisions.

As an accreditor, you will:

  • undertake setting and training program accreditation reviews with peers
  • play a crucial role in providing support and constructive feedback to settings who are seeking to achieve RACP accreditation as a training provider
  • gain firsthand experience of the new accreditation Standards and Requirements in practice, providing you with valuable insight for future accreditation preparations in your organisation
  • be eligible to claim Category 3 CPD credits and hours for activity undertaken.

Training with ongoing support and guidance to start your new role will be provided.

How to apply

Submit an Expression of Interest form along with your latest CV to accreditation@racp.edu.au (Australia) or accreditation@racp.org.nz (Aotearoa New Zealand) by Wednesday, 30 June 2021.

For more information, contact us via the details provided above.

RACP Congress 2021 Six Cities

RACP Congress 2021

RACP Congress 2021 is proud to announce Dr Monkol Lek will be speaking about genetic discovery and translation in neuromuscular diseases in Sydney this year. Dr Lek has three undergraduate degrees in computer engineering, bioinformatics and physiology from the University of New South Wales. He has worked on some of the largest human genetics projects, including playing a lead role in the Exome Aggregation Consortium (ExAC) project. He also had an opportunity to work on using cutting-edge genomic technologies to improve the diagnosis rate of rare neuromuscular diseases, using a cohort from Australia, and played a leadership role in the Broad Center of Mendelian. In 2018, he started his own lab at Yale as an Assistant Professor, with the goal to also work on translating genetic discoveries into patient specific genetic therapies. To find out more about him and our other speakers, visit the RACP Congress 2021 website.

COVID-19 Vaccination Series

COVID-19 Vaccination Series: Aotearoa New Zealand rollout

Join us on Wednesday, 10 March 2021, 6pm to 7.30pm (NZDT) / 4pm to 5.30pm (AEDT) for the Aotearoa New Zealand focused session of the COVID-19 Vaccination Series brought to you by the RACP and the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine.

With a focus on the Aotearoa New Zealand COVID-19 vaccinations rollout across the community, this session will also explore the up-to-the-minute news, research and further details of the vaccine.

Register now

Webinar: RACP statement on Indigenous child health in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand – where to from here

The RACP is hosting a webinar on Thursday, 11 March 2021, 4.30pm to 5.30pm (AEDT) / 6.30pm to 7.30pm (NZDT).

This webinar will explore the key concept and recommendations contained in the recently released RACP statement on Indigenous child health in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. This is an opportunity for participants to ask questions and explore the next steps in healthcare for Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori children.

Speakers will include:

Register now

We encourage RACP members, health professionals and any interested individuals to attend and share this event widely with your networks.

EventsAir_Trainees Day 2021 Banner 1920x300_F

Te Rā o ngā Tauira Mahi o Aotearoa Niu Tīreni 2021
Aotearoa New Zealand Trainees’ Day 2021

It's important to take time away from your daily life to reflect on your career, learn new skills and build connections with your peers. To help you achieve these goals, you're invited to the Aotearoa New Zealand Trainees’ Day. Held on Rāhoroi Poutū-te-rangi | Saturday, 27 March 2021 at the Millennium Hotel in Rotorua, you'll hear from a diverse range of speakers and receive invaluable networking opportunities. Attendance costs may even be reimbursed. Ask us how.

Associate Professor Rinki Murphy works at the University of Auckland and is a Diabetologist at Auckland District Health Board and Counties Manukau Health. Her session 'Why do research as a clinical trainee?' will outline various opportunities to experience different types of health research during specialist medical training which may motivate you to embark on an academic clinical career. Hear what she has to say about why you should attend this important event.

Supervisors, please encourage trainees to attend the Aotearoa New Zealand Trainees' Day.

Register now

Introduction to Medicare compliance, record keeping and support webinar

You are invited to a Medicare webinar on Wednesday, 17 March 2021 from 6.30pm (AEDT) / 8.30pm (NZDT) by the Medicare Benefits Integrity and Digital Health Division. The webinar will cover how to meet compliance standards and record-keeping, and how to best utilise support services for Medicare. This webinar will not be available as a recording.

Topics include:

  • introduction to the overarching compliance approach of the Division
  • case studies (de-identified)
  • record-keeping requirements
  • accessing support services.
Register now

Artificial intelligence for healthcare webinar

You're invited to an interactive webinar on Tuesday, 16 March from 6pm (AEDT) / 8pm (NZDT). Associate Professor Clair Sullivan FRACP, Dr Olivier Salvado and Professor Enrico Coiera will answer your questions as they cover key topics including:

  • bias
  • implementing artificial intelligence (AI) models into clinical practice
  • privacy issues
  • other technical and cultural challenges of AI. 

Register now

Updating our skills in psychiatry

The Committee of Chairs of the Medical Colleges of Victoria are hosting a webinar on updating our skills in psychiatry on Saturday, 27 March. You are invited to attend and engage with leading experts in the field who will be presenting on anxiety, depression, addiction issues, psychiatry in the elderly including an update from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

All members are encouraged to register for the webinar, which is hosted by the RACP Victorian Regional Committee.

Tune in to Medflix

Access RACP’s extensive collection of powerful and engaging educational videos all in one place. Browse the Medflix video library for videos covering a range of clinical and professional topics, such as 'Paediatric immune and inflammatory disorders', 'An introduction to Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (AFRFID)', The Howard Williams Oration, the Continuing Education Series, as well as all of the videos from our online courses.

Watch now

The College joins a call for new national Clinical Practice Guidelines for the management of overweight and obesity

In the past decade the number of Australians living with obesity has more than doubled, from 2.7 million in 2007-08 to over six million people today. We now have 900,000 more Australians living with obesity. Obesity affects all sections of society, but rates are higher in those with relative socio-economic disadvantage and lower levels of educational attainment, those living in regional and remote areas, and among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.  

It is the time to do something significant about an issue that, one way or another, affects everyone. It has become one of Australia’s most important equity challenges and most expensive preventable national health problems. New clinical guidelines are an essential step towards keeping health professionals up-to-date with the best practice approaches to dealing with obesity.  

On World Obesity Day 2021, the College and other key medical, specialist and consumer bodies issued a call for official clinical guidelines on how to assess, help and manage people with obesity. See the news section of the RACP website for more on this important initiative.  

Evolve Webinar Series 2021: Considering equity in reducing low-value care

Tuesday, 16 March 2021
5pm to 6pm (AEDT) / 7pm to 8pm (NZDT). 

As physicians act to reduce low-value care through implementing Evolve and Choosing Wisely recommendations, they must take care that these recommendations do not increase existing inequities for Māori.

Join Professor David Tipene-Leach and Dr Derek Sherwood as they discuss key findings from the Choosing Wisely Means Choosing Equity report, including why considering equity in this context is so important and messages for physicians on their role in reducing healthcare inequities.

Register now

Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health February 2021 is available online

The Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, Volume 57, Issue 2, January 2021 is now available on the JPC Wiley page.

An early view is also available of future articles.

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.

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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