Pot-pourri newsletter 20 October 2017

LGBTI parenting: 'Love, it seems, is the most important ingredient'

Those opposing marriage equality have made all kinds of claims; that marriage is all about children and that children have the ‘right’ to be parented by both a mother and a father – a slight not only on LGBTI parents and their children but on every single-parent or ‘non-stereotypical’ family in Australia. Incidentally, almost half of Australian children are cared for in ‘non-stereotypical’ families at some point in their lives.

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President's Message

As paediatricians, we know how important it is to care for the mental health as well as physical health of our patients and their families. Following World Mental Health Day and National Mental Health Week I’d like to reflect on some of the related College activities.

The important role that paediatricians play in mental health care was highlighted by the Paediatric & Child Health Division’s Policy & Advocacy Committee some time ago. The result was a position statement (PDF 485KB) released in October 2016. One year on, we asked the Chair of the Working Group, Dr Chris Pearson, to reflect on some of the key recommendations which will continue to be relevant over time. You can read Chris’ article below.

In recent months, the College has highlighted the health and wellbeing resources available to members. We need to look after ourselves, not just our patients, and by sharing our stories and experiences we play an active role in creating a supportive environment for ourselves and each other. I would also like to acknowledge an upcoming article by PCHD Council member, Dr Rebecca Nogajski on establishing a work life balance which will be in the November edition of the NSW/ACT State e-Newsletter. If you have story or perspective you’d like to share with the membership, please get in touch via paed@racp.edu.au

Registrations for RACP Congress 2018 are now open. Next year’s event is themed Disruption for Healthy Futures. A huge thank you to Dr Margie Danchin and Dr Nicholas Wood for their contribution as PCHD co-leads on the Congress ​Program Committee. The PCHD stream is shaping up to be a stimulating look at what paediatricians can do for current health issues as well as the future of healthcare amongst innovative change.

Applications are now open for two prestigious prizes to be awarded at Congress. I encourage you to apply. The finalists’ presentations at Congress were a highlight of this year’s program. The RACP awards the Rue Wright Memorial Award to a Fellow or trainee who demonstrates excellence in hypothesis, scientific merit and relevance to Community Child Health in an oral presentation at the RACP Congress. Applications are now open until Friday, 2 February 2018. The Best Poster Prize in Paediatrics & Child Health is awarded to a Fellow or trainee who demonstrates excellence of hypothesis, scientific merit and oral presentation for a poster presentation at the Congress. Applications are now open until Friday, 16 February 2018.

In support of the College’s position on marriage equality, I thought it important to add a PCHD perspective. I’ve written an opinion piece on LGBTI parenting and every families’ right to equality. The piece has garnered significant activity on social media and was picked up by key regional newspapers across the country. I’m pleased to add our paediatric voice in support of families and the wellbeing of children, and I hope it provides some comfort to the community we care for.

Finally, a reminder of upcoming key dates related to the Divisional Written Examination. Please visit the Divisional Written Examination page for further information.

Dr Sarah Dalton
President, Paediatrics & Child Health Division

Mental Health Services to Children and Young People 

The role of paediatricians in the provision of mental health services to children and young people position statement

The genesis of this work came from the Chapter of Community Child Health Committee when Dr Jacki Small was still Chair in 2012. The Committee had expressed concern about the lack of consultation by government with paediatricians. 

The Statement makes important recommendations for many stakeholders, including that:

  • governments across Australia and New Zealand need to capitalise on the knowledge and experience of paediatricians, involving paediatricians in all stages of strategic planning and policy development regarding mental health services for children and young people
  • paediatricians and mental health professionals collaborate to develop a common framework of practice across professional disciplines
  • the RACP engages with other professional bodies and other community representatives that facilitate care for children and young people.

The Chapter of Community Child Health Committee wrote to the Paediatric Policy and Advocacy Committee who agreed this was an important issue and a writing group was formed to write the policy/statement. The group was composed of paediatricians with a wide range of interests in the area of mental health, ranging from young children through to adolescents across Australia and New Zealand.

This group used the initial brief as the basis for writing a larger, evidence-based position statement advocating for the mental health needs of children and young people. The Statement has been promoted to various health departments around Australian and New Zealand, and acts as a reassurance to paediatricians in our community of the College’s interest in this space. The Statement was promoted heavily on social media after its launch, and has formed the basis for the College's contributions to the Australian Government's Fifth National Mental Health Plan consultation process.

The moral of this story is that if you believe that the College has a role in supporting an issue relating to the health of children and young people, then be active, be part of the solution and together we can achieve better for the children in our community. 

If you believe you’ve identified opportunities to advocate on issues important to children’s health, contact the Paediatric Policy and Advocacy Committee at paed@racp.edu.au 

The Statement was produced by a hardworking writing group with the support of the Policy & Advocacy Directorate of the RACP.

Dr Chris Pearson
Chair, Chapter of Community Child Health
Chair, The role of paediatricians in the provision of mental health services Working Group

Being human: doctors' mental health on the Pomegranate Health podcast

“I will attend to my own health, wellbeing, and abilities in order to provide care of the highest standard.”

The World Medical Association recently added this clause to the Declaration of Geneva in recognition of the often reported figures about burnout, depression and suicide in the health workforce.

The latest episode of Pomegranate Health, the RACP podcast, examines how healthcare systems might be shaped to improve physician wellbeing.

Find out more

Australian National Strategy to Reduce the Incidence and Impact of Childhood Injury

Injury remains the leading cause of death in Australian children, leading to twice as many hospital admissions annually than cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease combined. Injury is devastating, and changes the lives of the child and their family in the blink of an eye. The release of the 10 year national report into childhood injury hospitalisations shows there has been no reduction at all in the number of childhood injury hospitalisations over the 10 year period, and, deaths have increased. Children living in regional areas and males are at particularly high risk of sustaining a life changing injury. The data presented in this major report supports the need for action. 

Accordingly, a coalition of injury prevention experts, the Child Injury Prevention Alliance has come together to build on previous work by global child safety researchers. A sub-group of these experts has taken the initiative to produce an Australian first resource – Child Safety Good Practice Guide.

The purpose of the Australian edition of the guide is to provide practitioners, decision makers, and legislators with an evidence-based resource, relevant to the Australian setting, on which they can base their work, funding and recommendations. 

The resource is a platform to call for the development, implementation and evaluation of evidence-based sustainable injury prevention strategies, coordinated at a federal level, but with state implemented interventions. 

Addressing childhood injury, the largest health issue facing Australian children, not only reduces the physical and emotional trauma for children, families and the community. There are measurable economic benefits both in saving the costs associated with hospitalisation and rehabilitation, and in preserving the economic contribution these individuals will make into the future. 

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

Paediatric Watch – Lessons from the Frontline

The New South Wales Clinical Excellence Commission issues a regular publication Paediatric Watch – Lessons from the Frontline which shares the learnings from a de-identified critical incident (or incidents) and highlights opportunities to improve care for children and young people.

The latest edition, Paediatric Watch: Matters of the Heart, is now available. 

Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health

Read the ​October 2017 Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health on the Wiley Online Library. Articles include:

  • Non-typhoidal Salmonella infections in children
  • Prevalence and determinants of antibiotic exposure in infants
  • Medication prescribed by Australian paediatricians.

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.


MyCPD upgrade coming soon

We are excited to announce that the new and improved MyCPD program will be launched in early November.

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Attend the launch of The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change 2017 report

Join your colleagues for the launch of The Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change report.

Find out more

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.

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.

Consultation on Secondary Use of My Health Record Data

We are seeking your input to the College’s response to the Department of Health consultation on the Development of a Framework for Secondary Use of My Health Record Data.

Please send any comments to policy@racp.edu.au by 5pm Monday, 30 October 2017.

Note: If you wish to provide your own individual feedback to the Department of Health, a number of consultation workshops are being held across Australia or you can participate in an online survey which closes Friday, 17 November 2017.

Attend your local RACP Trainee Research Awards for Excellence event

The RACP Trainee Research Awards for Excellence are an opportunity for RACP trainees from all Divisions, Faculties and Chapters to present their research work to an audience of Fellows and trainees.

At each event one presentation in the field of adult medicine and one presentation in the field of paediatric medicine will be selected to represent their region.

Find out more

New Fellows Orientation Guide – Now available online

A new resource for Fellows has now been published on the RACP New Fellows webpage

This guide summarises the information and resources new Fellows need as they enter Fellowship and start practising as a physician or paediatrician.

University of Western Australia Graduate Certificate in Autism Diagnosis

Applications for the Graduate Certificate in Autism Diagnosis (GCAD) at the University of Western Australia in 2018 close on 31 October 2017. 

This is the first course of its kind and provides graduates trained in psychology, speech pathology, paediatrics, or psychiatry with the specialist knowledge and clinical skills required to participate in team-based diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Visit the course information page page for more information.

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 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'.    

Consultation forums: medical assistance in dying

A number of face-to-face and online consultation events for RACP members are being planned for November to continue the member dialogue on this important issue.

Find out more

Career Opportunities

​Australian Capital Territory

Staff Specialist and Senior Staff Specialist – General Paediatrician with possible sub specialty interest: The Canberra Hospital, Women Youth and Children
Reference number: 019W9
Closing date: Thursday, 16 November 2017, 11:59:00 PM

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.

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.

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