Pot-pourri newsletter 19 February 2016

President's post

As many of you will be aware, the Paediatrics & Child Health Division (PCHD) has been exploring options for the establishment of a separate representative organisation for paediatricians in Australia for some time. 

This pursuit has been based on the recognition that in a diverse organisation like the College, our voice is one of many. The President of the College works closely with the President of the PCHD on advocacy issues, however many paediatricians would like to see their voice and views represented to the community by a paediatrician.

While the Division has functioned well within this environment, many paediatricians in Australia would like to see a separate voice, that reflects paediatric concerns and can be more agile and perhaps more provocative.  

Consequently, a working group of Fellows was established a few years ago to investigate options for the establishment of an organisation distinct from the College that could advocate on behalf of, and represent the paediatric and child health community. The new entity would provide a focus for the paediatric voice in Australia, just as the Paediatric Society of New Zealand does for NZ. This voice would be able to function separately from the College but of course there would be many times when the two voices would be speaking together, lending weight to each other.

Discussions with the College on the best way to proceed in this project have been underway for the better part of two years, and we have reached agreement with the College on the subject of support for that body, recognising that when the two colleges merged some years ago there were funds from the College of Paediatrics that were transferred through the RACP and are now used by the RACP Foundation to fund paediatric awards and research. The final name of the new entity will be decided on in the near future but we are using the moniker ‘Academy’ for now, as the term describes well the holistic nature of what we are looking to achieve. This Academy will be an organisation that all paediatricians, general or subspecialty will be able to join. It will also seek to participate in the Model of Collaboration process with the College as many of the other societies will be doing over the next few months.

Next steps include establishment of a company, drawing up a constitution and governance structure and of course deliberation of the final name. I recognise that many of our colleagues do not read the Pot-pourri and so I would ask you to share this with them, talk about this with them. Look out for invitations to be involved in this new representative body and please consider helping with its establishment.

Dr Nicki Murdock
PCHD President

Children in detention

On Wednesday, 3 February 2016, the Australian High Court ruled that the Australian system of offshore detention, using facilities on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and on Nauru, was lawful. The ruling was made in reference to a case run on behalf of a Bangladeshi woman who was brought to Australian from Nauru in August 2014 for medical treatment. As a result of this ruling, approximately 250 asylum seekers face the prospect of relocation to Nauru, including 54 children and 37 babies born in Australia.

The release of the Human Rights Commissions (HRC) report into the health and well-being of children in detention, the week before the High Court’s decision, cast a harsh light on the implication of this outcome on those children. The report compiled by Professor Elizabeth Elliot and Dr Hasantha Gunasekera, was based on information compiled during a visit to the Wickham Point Detention Centre in the Northern Territory. During the visit the researchers spoke with detained children, many of whom had spent time on Nauru, and their parents. Their conclusions were stark. “The children… are amongst the most traumatised children the paediatricians have ever seen.”

In particular, the research highlighted the numbers of young children who expressed intent to self harm and talked openly about suicide, and the numbers of children who had already self harmed.

The report researchers also evaluated a significant sample of the children under eight years old, and found that nearly half of the sample group were identified as being of serious development risk.

Ultimately, the key recommendations from the report were explicit, calling for the immediate removal of children from immigration detention to community detention in mainland Australia or being granted a bridging visa; no child currently detained on the mainland to be transferred to Nauru under any circumstances; and that Nauru be recognised as an inappropriate place for asylum seeker children to live, either in the detention centre or in the community.

It is unlikely, however, that the Government will deviate significantly from its current policy of forced offshore detention, at least in the short term.

This places medical practitioners in an awkward position. Ethically, they seek to ensure that patients are not placed at risk when released from their care. Many are finding that this moral obligation is increasingly tested by the circumstances under which they treat children from detention, as eloquently demonstrated in the case of the baby ‘Asha’ currently under treatment at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, following the lead of the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne earlier this year. Health professionals in this case have chosen to act in support of their beliefs, as have others who have chosen to speak out against conditions on Nauru (potentially risking prosecution) and the authors of the HRC report. I am sure that most if not all of us support these actions.

It is increasingly apparent that the current status quo is unsustainable, and the argument for mandatory detention of children is becoming increasingly indefensible. Until operational attitudes change, however, there is an ongoing need to ensure that a particularly vulnerable segment of the population is supported and protected to as great an extent as possible. The College supports the paediatricians who are taking this action. It continues to work behind the scenes advocating with the government to achieve resolution of this issue.

Expressions of Interest

EOI: Chair – Paediatrics & Child Health Division Assessment Committee, closes Friday, 26 February 2016 

Applications are invited for the Chair of the Paediatrics & Child Health Division Assessment Committee at The Royal Australasian College of Physicians.  

The Paediatrics & Child Health Division Assessment Committee is responsible for looking at programs of assessment across the whole of basic and advanced training, in both Australia and New Zealand. The committee has oversight over both workplace-based assessments and examinations and will make policy recommendations to the Paediatrics & Child Health Division Education Committee and the College Assessment Committee.

The Paediatrics & Child Health Division Assessment Committee reports to the Paediatrics & Child Health Division Education Committee. The Chair will be appointed for an initial term of two years, with opportunity for renewal. The position will Chair all meetings of the Paediatrics & Child Health Division Assessment Committee, held in Sydney twice a year, with up to four teleconference meetings each year, if required. 

To request a copy of the Terms of Reference for the Paediatrics & Child Health Division Assessment Committee, please email clare.leroy@racp.edu.au.  

Interested Fellows should submit an application, together with their CV, to Associate Professor Paul Fullerton, Chair of the Paediatrics & Child Health Division Education Committee via email: pdec@racp.edu.au.   

Applications close COB Friday, 26 February 2016.

For comment: Draft National Consensus Statement on physical health of people living with a mental illness, closes 26 February

The National Mental Health Commission is seeking comments on its draft National Consensus Statement on physical health of people living with a mental illness

This follows a development process which included advice from a group of experts, key interviews, a workshop featuring over 60 organisations and individuals, and a literature and policy review.
To provide comment please complete the Online Consultation – Draft National Consensus Statement on physical health of people living with a mental illness survey by Friday, 26 February, 2016.

EOI: Chapter of Community Child Health Committee, closes 29 February 2016 

The Chapter of Community Child Health Committee (CCCHC) is the peak decision making body of the Chapter that includes the domains of child protection, child behaviour and development and child population health. The Chapter fosters the development and accreditation of relevant training programs for doctors in community child health, supports CPD, supports research and special professional interests of doctors working in community child health, and advises the PCHD and College on matters pertaining to community child health.

The Committee meets face to face, at the College, twice yearly around February/March and September/October as well as a mid-year and end of year teleconference. The term will commence in May 2016 in line with the College AGM and run for two years.

Expressions of interest from Chapter members are now sought for the following:

  • six appointed Fellows; at least one being a resident of New Zealand
  • one trainee of the Chapter.

The position description and CCCHC by-laws, are available on the CCCHC webpage. Please submit your EOI of no more than 500 words and a brief CV to paed@racp.edu.au by COB Monday, 29 February 2016. 

EOI: Paediatric Tuberculosis Specialist on the National Tuberculosis Advisory Committee (NTAC) – closing date extended to 29 February 2016 

Expressions of interests are sought from a paediatric tuberculosis (TB) specialist for a position on NTAC.

The NTAC was established in 1999 to provide expert advice to the Communicable Diseases Network Australia, the Australian Government Department of Health and the states and territories, on the prevention and control of TB.

NTAC consolidates current TB related activities occurring at the jurisdictional level, including enhanced national surveillance of important epidemiological control indices for TB including disease incidence, drug resistance and treatment outcomes. The activities of NTAC assist in maintaining a high level of knowledge and expertise in Australia with regard to TB, and ensure that there is continued vigilance and action. The work of the committee is vital to minimise the national burden and human impact of TB. 

The role of NTAC has become increasingly important over recent years as issues relating to the prevention and control of TB have emerged. NTAC has developed various guidelines and position statements, and has identified other key TB information both nationally and internationally to assist the TB community.

The closing date for submissions of EOIs has been extended. If interested in filling this position, please send your EOI outlining your area of expertise to paed@racp.edu.au by COB Monday, 29 February 2016. 

EOI: Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit (APSU) Scientific Review Panel, closes 18 March 2016

The APSU is seeking expressions of interest from experienced paediatricians/researchers with an interest in rare childhood conditions to join its Scientific Review Panel (SRP). They are seeking three new members, preferably from South Australia, Victoria and Queensland. 

The APSU is a national resource which facilitates surveillance and research into rare childhood conditions including rare infectious diseases, rare genetic conditions, rare injuries and other rare conditions or rare complications of more common conditions. 

The SRP reviews applications from groups of investigators who want to conduct surveillance using the APSU system. The committee meets three times per year via teleconference. 
If you are interested in joining the SRP, please provide a brief CV listing your qualifications, experience and key relevant publications and why you are interested in serving on the SRP. Send your expression of interest to SCHN-APSU@health.nsw.gov.au by COB Friday, 18 March 2016. 

For any queries please contact the APSU on +61 2 9845 3005 or contact Dr Marie Deverell at marie.deverell@health.nsw.gov.au or on +61 2 9845 2200.

Career opportunities


Staff Specialist Paediatrician

Reference number: V-062349


Two Paediatricians: Casey and Dandenong Hospitals 

Reference number: 20665
Closing date: Friday, 26 February 2016 

New Zealand

Paediatrician - Child Protection (1.0 FTE fixed term for 12 months): Te Puaruruhau, Starship Children’s Health ​

Reference number: 091617 (search for this reference number on the search page linked above)
Closing date: Friday, 4 March 2016

Conferences & events

Physician Education Program (PEP) event series, 
February – December 2016, Melbourne

The Physician Education Program series of lectures held every Thursday night (4 February – 8 December 2016) is designed for Basic Trainees as an opportunity to gain knowledge that will assist in the written exam. The lectures are also open to Advanced Trainees and Fellows wishing to keep informed of the latest developments in each specialty. The lectures are held at RACP Melbourne, Level 2, 417 St Kilda Road, Melbourne. Light refreshments will be provided for attendees.

Summit on Effect of Economic Growth on Child Health in Chinese Speaking Communities, 
27 to 28 February 2016, China

Venue: Shangri-La Hotel, Guangzhou, China 
Date: Saturday, 27 to Sunday, 28 February 2016
Registration: For more information and to register please visit the event website

Tasmanian Trainee Welcome Evening and Basic Training Orientation
3 March 2016, Hobart

Venue: Residents Quarters, Royal Hobart Hospital
Date: Thursday, 3 March 2016
Time: 5:15 pm – Session 1: Basic Training Requirements/Information

Session 1 is for new Basic Trainees and those interested in commencing Basic Training. It may also be helpful for current Basic Trainees and Basic Trainee supervisors wanting a refresher on current requirements. 

6pm – Session 2: Tasmanian Trainee Welcome Evening 

Session 2 is open to all Trainees and their supervisors/DPEs.  Supervisors and College staff will be available to answer questions.  

RSVP: Please RSVP to tas@racp.edu.au by Monday, 29 February 2016.

The 4th International Conference on Prehypertension, Hypertension and Cardio Metabolic Syndrome, 
3 to 6 March 2016, Venice, Italy

Venue: Hilton Molino Stucky Venice
Date: Thursday, 3 March to Sunday, 6 March, 2016
Registration: For more information and to register please visit the conference website.

The 5th Global Congress for Consensus in Pediatrics & Child Health (CIP2016), 
3 to 6 March 2016, China

Venue: Hilton Xi’an, China
Date: Thursday, 3 to Sunday, 6 March 2016
Registration: For more information and to register please visit the conference website.

The 13th International Dead Sea Symposium (IDSS) on Innovations in Cardiac Arrhythmias and Device Therapy, 
6 to 9 March 2016, Tel Aviv, Israel

Venue: David InterContinental Convention Center, Tel-Aviv
Date: Sunday, 6 to Wednesday, 9 March 2016
Registration: For more information and to register please visit the event website.

The 3rd World Congress on Controversies in Pediatrics (CoPedia), 
31 March to 3 April 2016, Spain

Venue: Hilton Barcelona, Spain
Date: Thursday, 31 March to Sunday, 3 April 2016
Registration: For more information and to register please visit the Congress website

Childhood Neglect: A forensic Assessment Framework training day, 
8 April 2016, South Australia

Venue: Education Development Centre, Room G. 11A
4 Milner Street, Hindmarsh, SA
Date: Friday, 8 April 2016
Registration: For more information and to register please visit the the event website.

The Victorian Forensic Paediatric Medical Service (VFPMS) two-day seminar (Child Abuse Paediatrics / Forensic Paediatric Medicine), 
18 to 19 April 2016, Melbourne

Venue: The Royal Children’s Hospital
Date: Monday, 18 and Tuesday, 19 April 2016
Registration: For more information and to register please visit the event website.

Childhood Trauma Conference, 
6 to 10 June 2016, Melbourne

Venue: Melbourne Convention Centre
Date: Monday, 6 to Friday, 10 June 2016
Registration: For more information and to register please visit the conference website.

The 2nd International Neonatology Association Conference (INAC 2016), 
15 to 17 July 2016, Austria 

Venue: Hilton Hotel, Vienna, Austria
Date: Friday, 15 to Sunday, 17 July 2016
Registration: For more information and to register please visit the conference website.  

Inaugural NSW Medical Education and Training Conference 2016
11 to 12 August 2016, Sydney

Venue: SMC Conference and Function Centre
Date: Thursday, 11 to Friday, 12 August 
Registration: For more information and to register please visit the event website.

28th International Congress of Pediatrics,
17 to 22 August 2016, Vancouver, Canada

Venue: Vancouver Convention Centre
Date: Wednesday, 17 to Monday, 22 August 2016
Registration: For more information and to register please visit the conference website.

21st ISPCAN International Congress on Child Abuse and Neglect, 
28 to 31 August 2016, Canada

The theme of this event will be Protecting our Children, Protecting our Future.
Venue: TELUS Convention Center, Calgary, Canada 
Date: Sunday, 28 to Wednesday, 31 August 2016
Registration: For more information and to register please visit the event website.

Fifteenth International Conference on Shaken Baby Syndrome/Abusive Head Trauma, 
25 to 27 September 2016, Canada

Venue: Le Centre Sheraton Montreal Hotel, Montreal, Canada
Date: Sunday 25 to Tuesday, 27 September 2016
Registration: For more information and to register please visit the conference website.

The 3rd Paediatric Flexible Bronchoscopy Course, 
24 to 25 October 2016, Singapore

Venue: Khoo Teck Puat-Advanced Surgical Training Centre (ASTC), National University Hospital, Level 2, Kent Ridge Wing, Singapore 119074
Date: Monday, 24 to Tuesday, 25 October 2016
Registration: For more information and to register please visit the the event website.

8th Asian Congress of Pediatric Infectious Diseases (ACPID), 
7 to 10 November 2016, Thailand

This event will be hosted by the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of Thailand in collaboration with the Asian Society for Pediatric Infectious Disease with the theme
‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’.
Venue: Queen Sirikit National Convention Center
Date: Monday, 7 to Thursday, 10 November 2016
Registration: For more information and to register please visit the event website.

The 12th Asian Society for Pediatric Research (ASPR) and Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital Joint Meeting 2016, 
9 to 11 November 2016, Thailand

Venue: Pullman Bangkok King Power, Bangkok, Thailand
Date: Wednesday, 9 to Friday, 11 November 2016
Registration: For more information and to register please visit the event website.

RACP Qstream Diagnostic Error Course

Expressions of Interest for the online RACP Diagnostic Error course are now being accepted.

Diagnosis is one of the most difficult cognitive tasks in medicine, and is the first step in informing clinical management decisions. The 2015 Institute of Medicine report on Diagnostic Error states that “the best estimates indicate that all of us will likely experience a meaningful diagnostic error in our lifetime”. 

The course has been developed in collaboration with the NSW Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC) to provide Fellows with an eLearning opportunity designed to highlight the myriad of risks associated with diagnostic error and improve diagnosis. 

Participants are invited to respond to multiple choice questions in relation to ten case studies from late March through to May. It should take no longer than five minutes per day to respond to each question (sent via email).

Questions will explore issues including: 

  • recognising diagnostic error
  • factors impacting diagnostic decision making
  • tools that may improve diagnostic processes.

The course aims to provide participants with: 

  • an ability to recognise diagnostic error and the potential harms to patients
  • an enhanced understanding of decision making during diagnosis in complex clinical environments
  • an understanding of the potential system and cognitive factors that can impact accuracy during decision making and their  impacts on clinical practice
  • a systematic approach that enables clinicians to identify, learn from, and reduce diagnostic errors and near misses in clinical practice.

Course participants will be eligible for CPD credits in Category 3, Self-Assessment Programs.  

To register your interest, please email your name, MIN and how you found out about the course (e.g. RACP website, work colleague, RACP twitter feed etc.) to sppp@racp.edu.au.  

Places are limited. Expressions of interest to participate in the 2016 Diagnostic Error course close Wednesday, 23 March 2016.

Supervision Support Strategy – survey now open

Supervision is fundamental to the success of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians’ (RACP) training programs and to ensuring quality patient care.

A significant number of supervisors dedicate their time, knowledge and skills, often on a voluntary basis, to educate physician trainees in the workplace.

The College is committed to ensuring that the vital contribution and commitment of each and every one of our supervisors is rewarded, recognised and supported. 

As physician training moves towards a model of competency-based medical education, in a challenging environment, it is essential to build capacity and capability in the supervisory workforce to support this transition. 

In response to these changes in the delivery of medical education, regulatory requirements and feedback from members, The College has commenced a project to refresh and refocus the Supervision Support Strategy. 

College Members are now invited to submit their feedback and contribute to the development of the College's Supervision Support Strategy for 2016 onwards, by completing this survey.

The survey will take approximately 20 minutes to complete. Information gathered from this consultation will be used to inform the College's Strategy and action plan, which will be circulated in mid-2016. The survey will close on Friday, 18 March.

For more information on the Supervision Support Strategy renewal project please contact Angela Corbett, Education Development Officer, Supervisor Learning Support on +61 2 8076 6338 or by email at angela.corbett@racp.edu.au.

Call for feedback on 2017 Physician Readiness for Expert Practice (PREP) program requirements

The College is seeking feedback from trainees, supervisors, and other stakeholders on proposed program requirements for 2017 for all specialties.

Access the survey and draft PREP requirements for the:

This year the College is also seeking feedback on a new program – Advanced Training in Adolescent & Young Adult Medicine (AYAM), to begin in 2017. Access the survey and abridged draft handbook for this program on the Advanced Training 2017 Program Requirement Consultation page

The surveys will take five to ten minutes to complete. Please provide feedback by Wednesday, 9 March 2016.

International Medical Symposium 2016 – Future Challenges for the Medical Profession

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in association with the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and the Australian & New Zealand College of Anaesthetists are pleased to host the 2016 International Medical Symposium Future Challenges for the Medical Profession.

The IMS is now in its fifth year and in 2016 will once again address the topic of “Future Challenges for the Medical Profession”. Planned sessions at the Symposium include: 

  • an examination of the nature and role of the doctor in the future
  • enhancing the performance of doctors at work
  • diversity in the profession
  • the impact of ageing on the profession and in medical practice.

For a comprehensive view of the program and a full list of our speakers download the Symposium flyer.

Venue: Amora Hotel Sydney 
Date: Friday, 11 March 2016
Registration: Registration, speaker and program details on the Symposium website.

RACP Congress 2016 registrations now open

Engage with leading experts in your field while catching up with colleagues.

Register NOW to attend to RACP Congress 2016

The RACP Congress 2016 is shaping up nicely. The diverse program of workshops, sessions, exhibits, and social functions will allow you to engage and benefit from the opportunities that come from being part of this large and varied Fellowship.

For early bird rates and further information on our special VIP Registrations view our registration information before the early bird deadline Friday, 11 March 2016.

Don't miss out on the heavily discounted rates that are available for 2016 only.

Further details on the topics and speakers can be found on the preliminary program.

RACP Congress 2016 provides many opportunities to network and catch up with colleagues and friends.  For further details about networking opportunities and other Congress information visit the Congress website.

We look forward to seeing you in Adelaide!

Venue: Adelaide Convention Centre 
Date: Monday, 16 to Wednesday, 18 May 2016
Registration: Registration, speaker and program details on the Congress 2016 website.

Trainee’s Day at the RACP Congress 2016. Registrations now open

To support future physicians, Congress 2016 includes a dedicated Trainees’ Day. Held on Sunday, 15 May 2016, Trainees’ Day is a great way to begin your three days in Adelaide.

Trainees’ Day is run by trainees for trainees and the sessions have been planned based on your feedback. The day promises to deliver a relevant and exciting program with cutting edge speakers to develop your clinical skills, promote discussion and prepare you for your career as a physician.

Trainees’ Day topics will give you tips on surviving in private practice with Lisa Phelps, MyPS Integrated Practice Services, an open a discussion about physicians and their mental health with Dr Roger Sexton, Doctors Health SA and help you understand expected professional behaviour in the workplace with Associate Professor Grant Phelps, Deakin University, and Dr Sarah Dalton, The Clinical Excellence Commission. Further details on the topics and speakers for Trainees’ Day can be found on the preliminary program.

For more information about Trainees’ Day and RACP Congress 2016 visit the Congress 2016 website.

Register before Friday, 11 March to take advantage of the Early Bird rates.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Venue: Adelaide Convention Centre 
Date: Sunday, 15 May 2016
Registration: Registration, speaker and program details on the Congress 2016 website.

Alcohol Policy launch

Developed as a joint initiative with the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP), the updated Alcohol Policy highlights the many harms of alcohol to individuals and society, and makes a range of recommendations for policy and regulatory strategies to reduce these harms.

You are invited to attend the launch of the Alcohol Policy from 4.30pm to 6.30pm on Thursday, 3 March 2016, at the RACP offices at 52 Phillip Street, Sydney.

Coinciding with the first game of the 2016 NRL season, the launch event will feature a panel discussion on the association between alcohol promotion and sport, the impact of this promotion on children and adolescents, and the need for stronger measures to curb the relentless exposure of young people to alcohol marketing. 

Led by Professor Paul Haber, Clinical Director Drug Health Services at RPA and Head Addiction Medicine at University of Sydney, panel participants include:

  • Professor Elizabeth Elliot AM, Paediatrician, Sydney Children’s Hospital Network (Westmead)
  • Associate Professor Kerry O’Brien, Researcher into alcohol and associated harms, Monash University
  • Professor Maree Teesson, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW
  • Mr Nathan Millett, Head of Personal Development, Health and Physical Education, Engadine High School.

Please register your attendance online by Thursday, 25 February 2016.

Member survey informs RACP Clinical Guidelines submission

The College’s submission to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in response to their draft discussion paper ‘Better informed health care through better clinical guidelines’ is now available online. 

The NHMRC’s discussion paper addressed the key challenges facing guideline development in Australia; specifically inefficiency, poor quality, lack of capacity, lack of investment in information technology, inaccessibility and obsolescence.

Thank you to all members who completed the member survey that informed the submission.

Read the College’s submission.

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