Pot-pourri newsletter 22 September 2017

President's post

You may be aware of my involvement in the Evolve initiative, part of an international movement to identify and decrease low-value practices and interventions. As Evolve activity progresses I thought it timely to provide an overview of where we are at and how you can become involved. Additionally, I will be presenting an oral abstract titled ‘Reducing Low-value Care; Top Five Priorities for Australasian Paediatricians’ at the European Academy of Paediatrics Congress next month. There is also a Letter to the Editor on the Evolve General Paediatrics List in the September edition of the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health. Your ideas and contributions on the implementation phase of Evolve are welcomed and if you would like to become involved, please see the Evolve item later in this bulletin. For more information, please contact evolve@racp.edu.au

I ask you to consider becoming more involved with the College as we approach a changeover of current terms in May 2018. There are a number of positions on the PCHD Council and Committees that will become available and offer a leadership opportunity to improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people across Australia and New Zealand. More information on these positions, including a timeline of the election and expression of interest process, will be communicated in the coming months. In the meantime if you have any questions about what this commitment entails and would like to talk to me or one of the PCHD Executive Committee members, please contact paed@racp.edu.au

There are some significant community awareness events in September. As paediatricians we are very aware of the impact of child abuse and neglect as we continue to advocate for the safety and wellbeing of children. Thank you to those who showed support for National Child Protection week. Dr Terry Donald has written a piece on child protection in this bulletin which I encourage you to read.

With International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day (FASD) on 9 September, it’s timely to highlight the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit’s significant contributions to this topic. Valuable resources such as e-learning modules and the Australian Guide to the Diagnosis of FASD are available from their website.

Finally, kia ora to our colleagues in Aotearoa as you go to the polls this weekend. I’d like to acknowledge the excellent work surrounding the RACP 2017 New Zealand Election Statement which has received significant media coverage. It focuses on the actions policy makers can take to improve health outcomes for the most vulnerable people in our communities, and at the core of this is whānau wellbeing.

Dr Sarah Dalton
President, Paediatrics & Child Health Division

Protecting Children is Everybody's Business

The College launched its child protection policy 'Protecting Children Is Everybody’s Business: Paediatricians Responding to the Challenge of Child Protection' in 2015.

Previous child protection policies emphasised the role and responsibility of paediatricians in the recognition of child abuse as well as its prevention and management whereas the new policy advocated for a public health approach to protecting children, incorporating the concept of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention (defined in the policy).

The 2015 policy encouraged paediatricians to take on stronger primary and secondary roles than previously recommended and emphasised the responsibility that paediatricians have in the development and proper functioning of interagency processes, particularly at the secondary and tertiary level.

Central to the primary and secondary roles is the conduct of a comprehensive psychosocial assessment and the subsequent engagement of appropriate community-based services.

To ensure that advanced trainees in Community Child Health are adequately equipped for their child protection responsibilities, the Advanced Training Committee in Community Child Health has developed a new training tool, the Child Protection Case Assessment, which, once it’s approved through the College processes, will provide an alternative child protection training pathway for advanced trainees.

The assessment aims to guide trainees into considering ways to improve safety and promote wellbeing whenever they consult with children, the emphasis being on the assessment of vulnerability as well as the remedial and modifiable factors that might strengthen families and better protect children. Children who are assessed as being vulnerable but in whom there is no suspicion of harm or abuse having occurred, need secondary level interventions that would normally not involve state statutory agencies. 

The Advanced Trainee assessments (using the Child Protection Case Assessment) of children who are found to be living in adverse circumstances will be discussed with the trainee’s primary supervisor.

Also, there is a requirement for trainees to use the assessment tool in the evaluation of children in whom physical or sexual abuse is suspected (tertiary level Child Protection), reporting their evaluation through case-based discussion with child protection/forensic paediatricians who are working in tertiary level Child Protection Units.

Dr Terence Donald

Chair, Child Protection Special Interest Group

Evolving Paediatric Practice

Part of an international movement, Evolve is the RACP’s initiative to reduce clinical practices that are sometimes overused and not supported by current evidence. By identifying and decreasing low-value practices and interventions, Evolve aims to drive high-value, evidence-based, and safe care to improve patient health outcomes.

There are currently two paediatric Evolve lists available – PCHD General Paediatrics and the Australasian Paediatric Endocrine Group. Currently, there are a number of other paediatric specialties also developing lists. 

Read more

New Recommendations to improve Rehabilitation Medicine

To deliver better care for those undergoing rehabilitation treatment, the Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine (AFRM) in partnership with the RACP, has released a series of new recommendations to help avoid low-value and potentially harmful tests and treatments.

Find out more

Growing Up in New Zealand

The Growing Up in New Zealand study from the University of Auckland's Centre for Longitudinal Research – He Ara ki Mua was launched in 2008. The ground-breaking study is internationally renowned and is the largest and most diverse longitudinal study to track the lives of children in New Zealand. Approximately 7,000 children have been tracked from before birth through to young adulthood, with the aim of providing information on early development and interventions. The research and findings from the study have helped to inform policy development, health strategy, reports and scientific articles.

The RACP frequently cites data and analysis from the Growing up in New Zealand study in its policy and advocacy activity. Most recently, papers published using data from the Growing Up in New Zealand study were essential to the research and evidence review as part of Make it the Norm: Equity through the social determinants of health – the RACP’s New Zealand election statement. Read about Make it the Norm.

The study has received recent media attention regarding its future and Dr Katie Tuck FRACP has initiated support for the study in its original state, noting the value of the study for paediatricians and families alike. 

RACP Draft Position Statement on Early Childhood

Feedback is sought from Fellows and trainees in response to a draft position statement on early childhood developed by the PCHD's Early Childhood Working Party.

In this draft position statement, the RACP aims to highlight the policy priorities essential to improving early childhood development in Australia and New Zealand. It describes the services and the physical, psychosocial and social environment required to promote optimum infant and child development in the period from conception and pregnancy through the preschool years, as indicated by current research and clinical experience.

Contact racpconsult@racp.edu.au to request a copy of the draft position statement paper and to submit your comments. The internal consultation period closes Sunday, 8 October 2017.

National guideline for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) assessment - Now open for community consultation

The Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC) is inviting feedback and comments on its recently developed ‘The diagnostic process for children, adolescents and adults referred for assessment of autism spectrum disorder in Australia: National guideline draft’. The aim of this guideline is to define a diagnostic assessment process that is feasible to conduct, effective in delivering accurate diagnostic decisions, and comprehensive in guiding future clinical management.

The guideline has been developed and published by Autism CRC through a 12 month process that involved a series of research and consultative activities, including a workshop in each state of Australia.

An important part of the guideline development process is to seek feedback from the public, in particular the people who will be directly impacted by the guideline. This includes, but is not limited to, people with autism and their carers, professionals involved in ASD assessment and service delivery, and policy makers and funding providers. You are invited to provide your individual written feedback via the online submission portal, and you can also contribute to the RACP’s College-wide submission, by emailing your comments to racpconsult@racp.edu.au by 5pm Monday, 25 September 2017.

The public consultation process will ​close on Thursday, 19 October 2017.

If you have any further questions, please contact the guideline development team on 08 9489 7662 or email kiah.evans@telethonkids.org.au

Early Diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy online survey – play your part in developing Continuing Medical Education (CME) for physicians

You are invited to participate in an online survey Early Diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy: Perspectives of Physicians.

The survey will take approximately ten minutes and will assist with the development of CME for Physicians to support implementation of recently published Early Diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy Clinical Practice Guidelines.

If you have any questions, or would like further information about this survey or project, please email or call: 

Lynda McNamara
Knowledge Transfer fellow Centre for Research Excellence in Cerebral Palsy
Phone: +61439439407   Email: lynda.mcnamara@mcri.edu.au

Healthy Kids for Professionals – new resource for paediatricians

NSW Health recently launched a new website, Healthy Kids for Professionals. It contains a range of resources including free online training and resources to assist all health professionals identify and manage children who are above a healthy weight, and their families. 

Paediatricians, endocrinologists and public health physicians continue to show leadership in talking about childhood overweight and obesity.  NSW Health has developed Healthy Kids for Professionals resources in consultation with a number of NSW paediatricians.

The website is designed to support all health professionals to:

  • Assess – identify children above a healthy weight
  • Advise – raise the issue, and have a brief discussion using key messages
  • Assist – provide further information and support
  • Arrange – follow-up or referral as appropriate

The website contains child weight management information and resources for health professionals.  Resources include: colour-coded BMI-for-age charts for boys and girls, an animation showing how to use the charts and an online weight status calculator. Referral links and forms are also available. 

New framework for Educational Leadership and Supervision

The RACP has developed a new Educational Leadership and Supervision Framework designed to establish a consistent and transparent approach to supervision, and clearly articulate the RACP’s expectation of excellence in training delivery and outcomes.

Find out more

Review of Victorian Public Health Notifiable Conditions

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services is proposing changes to the reporting requirements for prescribed notifiable conditions in the public health and wellbeing legislation.

Notifications of infectious disease and other medical conditions by medical practitioners and laboratories protect the health of Victorians as they allow the department to control public health risks, minimise the spread of disease and monitor disease patterns. The proposed changes aim to streamline reporting and modernise the scheme.

The department is seeking feedback on the proposed changes until 6 October 2017. Visit www.engage.vic.gov.au/notifiableconditions for more information. 

2018 Indigenous Health Scholarships – Applications opening soon

The College is offering scholarships to those who identify as being of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Māori or Pasifika heritage.

These scholarships provide a funded pathway through either Basic or Advanced Training in Australia and New Zealand.

Applications open: Sunday, 1 October 2017 and close Thursday, 30 November 2017.

Find out more

Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health

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

  • Lower limb pathologies in juvenile idiopathic arthritis
  • Refugee children and their health
  • Vaccine discussions with parents

Hear about Transitions to Fellowship on Pomegranate Health

On this episode of Pomegranate Health, four Fellows recall their unique experiences on making the ​change from trainee to Fellow and how they maintain a healthy balance within and around their careers. 

Find out more

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

Foundation awards  

Nominations are closing soon for several prestigious awards, including:

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”.    

Expressions of Interest

You can now check the Expressions of Interest page at any time, to find out if there are any opportunities that are of benefit to you.​

Career Opportunities


Paediatric Registrar: Latrobe Regional Hospital

Reference number: 19404
Closing date: Tuesday, 26 September 2017

New South Wales

Community Paediatrician: Vulnerable children and youth, South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD)

0.6 FTE permanent with possibility of enhancement to full time
Reference number: 414313
Closing date: Tuesday, 10 October 2017

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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