Pot-pourri newsletter 17 November 2017

Paediatric cardiologist named the Northern Territory’s Australian of the Year

Congratulations from the Paediatrics & Child Health Division.

One of Australia’s first female paediatric cardiologists, RACP Fellow Dr Bo Reményi has been named the Northern Territory's Australian of the Year for her work in tackling rheumatic heart disease in the Northern Territory – an area with the highest rate of rheumatic heart disease in the world. Her work includes diagnosis, treatment, and advocacy.

Her work has led to new treatments and better outcomes for patients, locally and internationally. She fled Hungary as a teenager and found a safe haven in Australia where she is now saving lives and contributing to putting Australia on the international map with her innovative approach to tackling heart disease with an emphasis on prevention.

Find out more

President's Message

Firstly, I would like to warmly congratulate Dr Bo Reményi on her achievements and for being named the Northern Territory's Australian of the Year.

One of the most important things we can do as a College is ensure we are listening to trainees and supporting our Paediatric leaders of tomorrow. I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to work with many exceptional junior doctors, and as such would like to welcome Dr Nicholas Fancourt to the Paediatrics & Child Health Division Council. Nicholas has recently been appointed as a trainee representative. Dr Davina Buntsma remains as the other trainee representative on the Division’s Council.

Thank you to Dr Carla Morley who has contributed an article on advanced trainee research projects in this month’s issue. Carla is the trainee representative on the Paediatric Research Committee.  It’s great to have an item from a trainee’s perspective and I will take this opportunity to reiterate that trainee input into the eBulletin is encouraged and welcomed. You’ll also note that there is an item on obesity and mental health issues which is based on the response to a query from a concerned member. I hope to include more of this type of item in the future, as queries are received and information shared that may be of interest to the wider membership. Next month’s eBulletin is the last until February 2018 and will include a summary of the Division’s activity and links to end of year communiques. A reminder, that if you would like to submit an item yourself, or a request for an item for the eBulletin, please email paed@racp.edu.au

I’d like to highlight that the College’s work on reducing children’s exposure to alcohol advertising during sports broadcasts continues. Addiction specialist Professor Paul Haber has written an opinion piece on the harmful effect alcohol advertising has on young kids and why it is such an issue. 

You will recently have been made aware of the work profile on MyRACP. Understanding the physician workforce is increasingly important, but at the moment there is no reliable database that can answer seemingly simple questions about the physician workforce like ‘how many RACP Fellows are engaged in research?’. To be able to answer these questions, and allow the College to better inform decision making, we need your help. A new feature has been added to MyRACP where you can update your work details including what percentage of your time is spent on various aspects of medical practice and research including supervision, teaching, research and clinical practice (public and private). I encourage you to take the time to complete this information, it took me less than 10 minutes and the more complete the data is, the more the College can help policy and decision makers. You can complete your work profile on MyRACP or read more about it.

Sadly, I acknowledge that many in our paediatric community are feeling the loss of a great mentor and contributor, Dr Leo Buchanan. It is a loss that ​is felt on both sides of the Tasman. I refer you to the following message from Dr Jonathan Christiansen, RACP New Zealand President.

Finally, I encourage all paediatricians to register for RACP congress 2018 which is being held in Sydney. Congress is a great opportunity for us all to get together to share our knowledge on important issues which include climate change and patient centred care in 2018. Visit the website racpcongress.com.au to register.

Dr Sarah Dalton
President, Paediatrics & Child Health Division

Help the College to better inform workforce decision making

The RACP is establishing a physician workforce profile and is calling on Fellows to enter their practice activity through a new feature in MyRACP. We understand many Fellows complete workforce information for other organisations, but these are often fragmented and designed around a specific question.
Find out more

Vale Dr Leo Buchanan

Ko te ahi a Tahurangi moo te pukeaao
ka tuu tonu te pukeaao kia tiketike
ka whakahinga te pukeaao i ngaa awatea i ngaa ahiahi
Tēnā koutou katoa

It is with sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Dr Leo Buchanan, Taranaki, Te Atiawa me Ngāti Ruanui, Tākuta mō te Tamariki Ora and Foundation Chair of the RACP Māori Health Committee, who died in Wellington on 11 October 2017 after a short illness.

Through his roles as kaumatua, Chair of the Māori Health Committee and as a paediatrician, Dr Buchanan made an incalculable contribution to improving the health and wellbeing of tamariki and rangatahi in Aotearoa. 

Dr Buchanan was enormously generous with his time and was involved in many activities of the RACP throughout his long career. His RACP legacy lives on in the Māori Health Committee, and many other areas of RACP life, including mentoring, education and training.

 Ngā mihi

Dr Jonathan Christiansen
RACP New Zealand President

A trainee perspective on research projects

Have you just passed your RACP exams and thinking about starting your research project? Here’s a guide on where to start.

 You’ve made it through your clinical exam. After a well-earned break you are now starting to think about your RACP project.

You may already have identified an area of interest or a particular question you would like to answer. Or you may have a mentor or supervisor with a specific area of expertise with whom you want to work. When considering your topic a helpful approach is the FINER research question. Is your study Feasible, Interesting, Novel, Ethical, Relevant?

Where to find help?  Further information on devising your research question can be found at the eLearning portal and under ‘Research’. This contains a number of helpful links such as ’Finding a Supervisor Guide.’ An eLearning module on supervising research, coming soon.

Another helpful resource is the Australian Paediatric Research Network’s website ‘HOW TO Conduct Research’ under “Resources”.

It is important to be aware of the guidelines required for the RACP project. The guidelines outline the types of project types that are acceptable.  It is also important to familiarise yourself with the marking criteria used to assess your project. It is worth discussing these with your supervisor when you are formulating your research question.

The training handbook is another important document to familiarise yourself with. It has information regarding due dates, and submission requirements.

It can be challenging staying motivated and completing your project in a timely manner while juggling work commitments, family life and other training requirements. Starting early in your advanced training and thinking about a timeline can be helpful strategies for trying to stay on task. I found talking to colleagues about my project, hearing about what other people were doing, and attending conferences or meetings relevant to my topic were good motivators. Overall keep in mind that you want to aim to submit your project at the end of the second year of training. The submission dates are usually outlined in your Advanced Training Handbook.

If you have any further questions, email Research.Project@racp.edu.au

Dr Carla Morley
General Paediatrics Advanced Trainee, Gold Coast University Hospital
Trainee Representative, Paediatrics & Child Health Division Research Committee

Our obesity and mental health ​related activities

Recently a query was received from a member of the Division asking about the College’s work on obesity and mental health issues, raising them as key issues facing children, young people and paediatricians. These are two topics that RACP is actively engaged with, and the following highlights the work we’re doing in these spaces.

Late last year we launched our position statement on the role of paediatricians in the provision of mental health services to children and young people. We’ve provided the position statement to health departments around the country, and engaged with multiple governments at the ministerial level this year to highlight the need for children to be at the forefront of mental health planning. One of the key concerns we raise is the lack of involvement of paediatricians in strategic mental health planning.

Recently there was a government-led process developing the 5th National Mental Health Plan. The RACP has been actively engaged, and our submission on the first draft was heavily focused on the lack of initiatives to tackle children and young people’s mental health. The mental health of children and young people is and will remain a key priority for the PCHD.

We’re in the process of finalising an obesity position statement. Development of the position statement has been led by our New Zealand office, but will be equally applicable to the Australian context. We do regularly raise the issue of obesity in all relevant submissions to State and Commonwealth governments as a key health priority for children and young people. We have also recently had discussions on this issue with the Australian Health Minister, Shadow Health Minister, the leader of the Australian Greens and the Commonwealth Medical Officer. Whilst these discussions are very productive, by their nature they mostly occur behind the scenes. Our advocacy on this subject will be more visible following the release of the position statement.

The RACP is also taking steps to significantly increase its social media presence across all issues. In the last few weeks we’ve seen greater engagement across Facebook and Twitter than ever before, largely as a result of our work on same-sex marriage. This ever-improving social media presence should lead to greater effectiveness as we advocate on other issues down the road. We’re already moving towards a model of using spokespeople for specific issues. For example, I am currently the RACP’s spokesperson on the issue of alcohol advertising in sport, and the impact this has on children.

Communication from our members is welcomed and engagement with proactive Fellows enhances the RACP’s advocacy across all issues. Please don’t hesitate to get in contact through paed@racp.edu.au

Dr Sarah Dalton
President, Paediatrics & Child Health Division

Draft National Guideline for Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder

The Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism recently ran a round of consultation on its national guideline draft concerning the diagnostic process for children, adolescents and adults referred for assessment of autism spectrum disorder in Australia.

The Paediatrics ​& Child Health Division consulted with the Neurodevelopmental and Behavioural Paediatric Society of Australasia (NBPSA) and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) to review the draft guideline. All three organisations made their own submissions to the process.

In the coming months we expect to engage further with the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism as they work to respond to the recommendations of the RACP and other stakeholders.

Download The PCHD-led RACP submission.

Violence against children of the world:
Burden, consequences and recommendations for action

Globally, the range, scale and burden of all forms of violence against children (VAC) are increasingly visible. This report defines the problem, determines the burden and consequences of VAC, describes existing typologies of violence pertinent to children, and finally, identifies what works both in preventing violence from occurring and ameliorating the effects in its aftermath. 

Read more

Safe Gentamicin Prescribing in Paediatrics: Taking the Confusion and Harm Out Of Gentamicin Dosing and Monitoring 

The Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC) has recognised the management of gentamicin as a key area for improvement in paediatric patient safety. We are proud to release the Safe Gentamicin Prescribing in Paediatrics resource which provides drug dosing and therapeutic drug monitoring information to assist with the safe prescribing of gentamicin in the paediatric patient population.

This resource was developed in response to a 2016 study which highlighted significant variation in gentamicin dosing and therapeutic drug monitoring in NSW hospitals. This variability creates risk to patients and prescribers working in more than one hospital. Gentamicin is also consistently in the top four medications involved in medication incidents reported in Incident Information Management System (IIMS).

Experts in paediatrics from tertiary, metropolitan, regional and rural facilities developed this resource which includes an age-based prescribing guide which aims to standardise best practice. The resource directs clinicians to the Neomed resource for premature children and newborns, and the Australian Medicines Handbook – Children's Dosing Companion for term babies and older children.

Young patients are particularly vulnerable to errors in medication dosing and length of use and this new resource will encourage safer and more effective use of this important drug. Accompanying this resource we have also created two short medication safety animations to engage and provide the audience with a clear and memorable message in safe medication practices.

This resource has been endorsed by the CEC and the NSW Clinical Risk Action Group. It is strongly recommended that clinicians working in your facility that care for children utilise this to improve gentamicin prescribing and dose monitoring in NSW.

Dr Jonny Taitz
Consultant Paediatrician
on behalf of the Paediatric Patient Safety & Medication Safety Programs

International Society for Social Pediatrics and Child Health (ISSOP) e-bulletin No.29, September 2017

ISSOP is an interdisciplinary, non-governmental, non-profit making, scientific body open to all child health professionals. ISSOP promotes knowledge of social paediatrics, to stimulate research in this field, to disseminate such knowledge at meetings and to work together with national and international agencies. 

The ISSOP e-bulletin No.29, ​September 2017 is now available online.

Rue Wright Memorial Award

The Rue Wright Memorial Award is awarded to a Fellow or trainee who demonstrates excellence in hypothesis, scientific merit and relevance to Community Child ​Health in an oral presentation at RACP Congress.

Applications close on Friday, 2 February.

MyCPD Upgrade Launching 27 November

The new and improved MyCPD program will be launched on 27 November.
Find out more

Physician Training Surveys

We are introducing surveys for trainees and supervisors as part of our accreditation program. 

The surveys will help us ensure high quality and safe training experiences for trainees, confirm there is sufficient support and training for supervisors and assess whether our educational standards are being delivered in the workplace.

Find out more

RACP consultation and forums on medical assistance in dying

The RACP has established a Working Party to develop the College’s position on these issues, and is working with Woolcott Research & Engagement to consult with RACP members about their views.

Find out more

RACP Congress 

The 2018 Congress program continues with the popular shared session structure as well as clinical and specialty sessions for each Division and Faculty.

On Monday, leading paediatricians will be discussing inequity in child health, addressing the inverse care law and how to be part of the solution and not the problem.

Visit the Congress website to view session descriptions for the entire Congress program

An Open Letter to Basic Trainees Eligible for the 2018 Divisional Written Examination

Next year the Divisional Written Examination is being delivered via computer-based testing. In an open letter to Basic Trainees, Dr Jonathan Christenson, Chair of the College Education Committee, Dr Tina Marinelli, Chair of the College Trainees' Committee and Dr Marie-Louise Stokes, Director of Education Services discuss the benefits of this change and provide further information to support trainees. 

Find out more

Best Poster Prize in Paediatrics & Child Health

The Best Poster Prize in Paediatrics & Child Health is awarded for excellence of hypothesis, scientific merit and oral presentation for a poster presentation at RACP Congress.

Applications close on Friday, 16 February.

RACP Indigenous Health Scholarships for 2018 – Applications open now

Through its Indigenous Health Scholarship Program, the College annually offers up to eight scholarships to medical graduates and doctors who identify as being of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Māori or Pacific Islander heritage and who would like to pursue a career as a physician.

These scholarships cover all RACP training and examination fees for either Basic or Advanced Training to the value of $10,000 for each year. They also include registration, travel and accommodation to attend the RACP Congress and/or other relevant Annual Scientific Meetings.

For full details and to apply go to the RACP Indigenous Health Scholarship Program page or contact the RACP Foundation.

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”.


The RACP Support Program

The RACP places the utmost importance on the wellbeing of its members. We live fast-paced, busy and time poor lives and it can often be difficult to balance the pressures of the workplace, interactions with colleagues and personal matters. 

Life and work balance doesn’t just happen – it requires planning. The Balancing Life and Work tip sheet from the RACP Support Program provides practical tips for planning and achieving balance. 

The RACP Support Program is a fully confidential and independent help line available 24 hours, seven days and is free for Fellows and trainees. 

Find out more

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.

View all Paediatrics and Child Health events here.

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

Career Opportunities

New South Wales

Paediatrician: Campbelltown
Opportunity for part-time private work for paediatric physicians in Campbelltown. Flexible work arrangements in highly supportive environment with mentoring support.
Email your CV and cover letter to physicianmedjobs@gmail.com
Contact: Tina Brown, +61 412 498 983

View all career opportunities.

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