Pot-pourri newsletter 2 June 2017

President's post

My thoughts these last few weeks have been with trainees and examiners as the annual Paediatric Clinical Exams have been held. I know this is a very challenging time for many of you, and I commend the effort and hours you have dedicated to learning how to be better paediatric physicians. Wishing you the very best with your results, and thank you to all those who have supported these exams, through covering extra shifts, supporting candidates with practice exams or being involved with examinations on the day. 

It has been a busy time with the recent Congress in Melbourne. Thank you to all who helped make it a success. I was particularly pleased with the engagement from paediatricians across the three days. Paediatrician attendance increased significantly from the previous year and I look forward to building on this at Congress 2018. Congress 2018 Disruption for Healthy Futures will be held from Monday, 14 to Wednesday, 16 May in Sydney. You can register your interest to attend Congress 2018.

Personally, I was delighted to be part of the panel for the Evolve session on how to have a conversation about reducing low-value care. I was also fortunate to hear many interesting presentations from our colleagues, with a standout presentation about National Disability Insurance Scheme where we heard several different perspectives including that of two young men who are enrolled in the scheme. It was a great pleasure to award Dr Hasantha Gunasekera the Rue Wright Memorial Award and the Best Poster Prize in Paediatrics & Child Health was awarded to Dr Sowmya Gandham. Congress presentations are now available. I encourage you to take a look.

I would also like to make special mention of Professor Elizabeth Elliott AM, the 2017 recipient of the prestigious Howard Williams Medal. Professor Elliott’s oration, In search of Child Health: from Dien Bien Phu to Fitzroy Crossing and Christmas Island, was a Congress highlight for many paediatricians in attendance, including myself. There has been a lot of enquires about a video of her oration, and I am ​pleased to say, this is now available on the RACP YouTube Channel. Professor Elliott’s oration will also feature in the September/October issue of RACP Quarterly. I am also pleased to announce that nominations for the Howard Williams Medal 2018 are now open.

As Refugee Week in Australia approaches on Sunday, 18 to Saturday, 24 June I’d like to acknowledge all those paediatricians who work in difficult circumstances to improve the health and wellbeing of refugee children and young people. 

Finally, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to our new colleagues who have recently joined the Fellowship as members of the Paediatrics & Child Health Division. Congratulations on your achievement.

Dr Sarah Dalton
PCHD President

More needs to be known about variation in care 

Professor Harriet Hiscock, Director, Health Services Research Unit, The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne, and Chair of the Paediatrics & Child Health Division Research Committee, presented one of the standout sessions from RACP Congress 2017 in Melbourne. 

Addressing the topic of variation in treatment for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) she opened her presentation carefully explaining that despite media hype, variation in prescribing data needs to be further understood. 

Data from Australia’s first Variation in Health Care Atlas revealed that the discrepancies are huge, showing that the number of scripts issued for stimulant medication was 75 times higher in the area with the highest rates compared to the lowest rates. 

The number of dispensed ADHD prescriptions varied significantly both within and across states with New South Wales the highest at 13,588 per 100,000 children (aged 17 or under). South Australia had the lowest usage with 5,541 per 100,000 children.

Professor Hiscock and her team have begun researching this issue. Initially focusing on Victoria, they will examine the impacts and outcomes for children and young people with ADHD based on the treatment they receive.

“Understanding why this is happening, and if it is a good or a bad thing, will be one of the big questions as part of a three year NHMRC-funded study looking at the reasons behind why this variation exists,” explained Professor Hiscock. 

“A challenge for us is the fact that variation in care is already a complex issue, however it appears to be even more difficult in this case because the variation for ADHD is higher than other conditions.

“Often paediatricians and child and adolescent psychiatrists are called out as the key reason why variations exist. However, our research so far suggests that this is not the case and there are multiple reasons behind the variations we’re seeing,” said Professor Hiscock.

Professor Hiscock’s Congress presentation ​will be featured in the June/July 2017 issue of RACP Quarterly

Chapter of Community Child Health Satellite Day A Success

The Chapter of Community Child Health (CCCH) held their annual Chapter Satellite Day on Sunday, 7 May 2017. Attendee numbers were the highest in many years and the topics resonated deeply with the audience.

The 2017 Chapter Satellite Day was aligned with the Neurodevelopmental and Behavioural Paediatric Society of Australasia ​Education ​Day, with a shared theme of trauma, across two days, including a combined casual dinner on the Saturday night.

There were many high profile speakers, including Professor Raimond Gaita, philosopher and award-winning writer, Dr Georgie Paxton, an inductee to the Victorian Honour Roll for Women (for work in refugee health), Dr Sarah Cherian, paediatric representative to the WA Refugee Health Advisory Group and psychiatrist Dr Chidambaram Prakash who spoke on the impact of trauma on mental health in childhood. Dr Anne Smith delivered the plenary on battered babies, noxious neglect and the epigenetic effects of maltreatment.

2017 Chapter Satellite Day presentations can be viewed on the CCCH webpage.

Thank you to the speakers and the CCCH Committee who contributed to an excellent program and a successful day.

If you have any informal feedback about the 2017 Chapter Satellite Day please contact the Chapter of Community Child Health Chair via paed@racp.edu.au

End-of-life care RACP Online Professional Program course – Register now

This course, open to Fellows and Advanced Trainees, will run from late June to August.

Participation takes as little as five minutes a day, two to three times a week.

Find out more

New RACP NDIS Guides for Physicians and Paediatricians online now

The RACP NDIS Guides for Physicians and Paediatricians are a comprehensive online resource for RACP members.

Find out more

NSW Paediatrics and Child Health Advanced Training Orientation – Thursday, 29 June

Are you based in NSW and making the transition from Basic to Advanced Training in paediatrics and child health?

Join us at this event and find out more about training and how you can make the most of it.

Find out more

Hear about Social Medicine – themes from RACP Congress 2017 on the RACP Pomegranate podcast

At RACP Congress 2017 in May, there was great interest in sessions examining the moral obligations physicians have to society. In this episode of Pomegranate hear three speakers from panel sessions at the event reflect on some of the themes raised.

Find out more

RACP discussion paper on medical assistance in dying

Feedback is sought from Fellows and trainees in response to a discussion paper on medical assistance in dying developed by the College's Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Death Working Party.

The paper engages with ethical issues and the evidence and covers terminology, historic framing of the issues, data from legalised jurisdictions, the socio-cultural context, issues raised from clinical experience, common ground principles for physicians, and practical impacts. The paper is not intended to be a statement either for, or against, medical assistance in dying, rather its purpose is to help Fellows and trainees provide feedback as the RACP develops its approach.  

Consultation questions are set out in Section 9 of the paper and feedback will be used by the Working Party to draft the RACP position, or positions, on medical assistance in dying.
Contact racpconsult@racp.edu.au to request a copy of the discussion paper and to submit your comments. Consultation closes Friday, 7 July 2017.

RACP Foundation fellowships and grants now open

If you’ve ever considered research, want to further your research career, or need assistance for further training, presenting at or attending workshops several RACP Research and Study Grants are now open for applications.

Why not consider nominating an international specialist or graduate to learn specific skills at either one or multiple centres, to the value of $10,000 for the Paediatrics International Grant – Asia Pacific Region.

Applications are currently open across Career Development Fellowships, Research Establishment Fellowships, and Research Entry Scholarships.

Find out more

Career Opportunities


Fijian Ministry of Health, doctor positions available

The Fijian Ministry of Health is currently recruiting for 45 doctor positions. 

Some of the normal Fiji Civil Service rules which include compulsory retirement at 55 years of age and the need for Fiji citizenship are being waived for doctors recruited in this current campaign.

Australian and New Zealand qualifications are recognised by the Fiji Medical Council and successful applicants will be issued with a three year work visa and residency visas for immediate family members. 

New South Wales

Senior Lecturer Child and Adolescent Health: The Children’s Hospital at Westmead
Reference number: 854/0517
Closing date: Sunday, 18 June 2017

Temporary Staff Specialist Paediatrics: Tweed Byron Health Service Group
Reference number: 380739
Closing date: Thursday, 15 June 2017

New Zealand

Community and Developmental Paediatrics: Kidz First Outpatient Care, Manukau SuperClinic and Kidz First Community Health, Wiri Station Rd, Manukau (South Auckland)
Reference number: CMH01533

General Paediatrics and Research focus: Kidz First Children’s Hospital
Reference number: CMH01534

Paediatric Rehabilitation Specialist (Fixed Term): Starship Rehabilitation Service, Starship Child Health
Reference number: CEN01321
Closing date: Sunday, 4 June 2017


Paediatric Registrar Advanced Trainee: Coastal Queensland, Mackay Base Hospital
Reference number: MK242398
Closing date: Friday, 30 June 2017

Western Australia

General Paediatric Registrar: Joondalup Health Campus
Closing date: Friday, 30 June 2017

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