The President's Message – 22 February 2019

Many of you will have seen our call last weekend for urgent expressions of interest for nominations to be considered by the Australian Minister for Immigration for appointment to the Independent Health Advice Panel. I’d like to update you all on progress. 

If you haven’t followed this issue closely, the call for nominations follows the Australian Federal Parliament voting to establish an expert medical panel to make decisions on the health of refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru, and their need for transfer to Australia for urgent medical treatment not available in the regional processing countries.

The panel would also be asked to assess the health facilities available in these regional processing centres.

Despite the very short time frame – we had over 30 responses from members willing to participate despite the fact work will not be remunerated, and costs will not be reimbursed.

I’d like to thank everyone who stepped forward to take part in this important work.

The College has proposed 10 members to the Minister for consideration.

However, those nominations have been provided on a provisional basis pending clarification from the Government on several outstanding issues.

Some are practical, such as travel and accommodation and time commitment. Others are more complex -  medico-legal liability for example.

We will continue to update you on progress.

Divisional Written Examination

I’d like to thank everyone involved in making Monday’s Divisional Written Examination a success.

Over 1100 candidates at 19 venues across Australia and New Zealand sat the two papers, and the day progressed and concluded without major issues.

We’re able to deliver a quality exam due to the tireless pro-bono work of many Fellows from both Divisions who give their time to develop questions, set the exams and govern the examination process.

Our DPEs and Supervisors also play a critical role – preparing their candidates for this key point in the career of a trainee physician or paediatrician.

In addition, I want to recognise our Examinations, Communications and Risk teams and many other College staff, including those who travelled long distances to ensure there was an RACP presence at every venue in both countries.

CEO recruitment

As the most important appointment the Board makes, we have resolved to extend Duane Findley in the role of interim CEO until 31 August, while an independent Board appointed recruitment organisation builds a shortlist of candidates for the permanent position.

Both internal and external applicants are welcome. Any Fellows who are interested in applying for the position can view the advertisement here.

Kind regards, 

Associate Professor Mark Lane
RACP President

Last chance to take advantage of early bird rates

Have you missed out on early bird registration for RACP Congress 2019? As this is a not-to-be-missed event on the RACP calendar we have extended the early bird deadline until Thursday, 28 February 2019.

Over 75 per cent of last years’ Congress delegates said they would change the way they practise because of things they learned during the three-day event. So we know that attending Congress impacts the way physicians think, interact and work. We hope you don’t miss this great opportunity to challenge yourself.

Register now to hear the opening keynote address by New Zealand’s Emeritus Professor Sir Mason Durie who will be sharing his vast knowledge of Māori health and science. Sir Mason developed the holistic health and wellness model, Whare Tapa Whā – intended to give Māori a greater sense of ownership of their health. Presenting a Māori view of healing in four dimensions – wairua, hinengaro, tinana and whānau; spiritual, mental, physical and family health, Whare Tapa Whā signifies health as a house, where all four walls are necessary and must be in balance if it is to be strong.

Let our other accomplished speakers take you on an intimate journey; and hear a surgeon’s personal addiction story as part of a session on the opioid epidemic and iatrogenesis on a global scale. Also learn more about what the clinical aspects and mechanics of pain management are, what the alternatives to opioids are and how to enable our patients to return to work. Questions to consider include: how can doctors rise to the challenge, what do we need to do differently and what are the system changes that need to occur on a clinical practice, community and government level?

Enjoy a discussion about the key to unlocking optimal health and the life course paradigm. Our expert panel will be interviewed by renowned journalist Susie Ferguson on their thoughts, views and solutions on ‘Make Health the Norm’.

Watch as the growing health issue of obesity is put under the microscope; learn more about the RACP's obesity work, understand why current approaches to dealing with obesity are failing and get a sense of the struggles doctors are facing in treating patients with weight issues.

Hear firsthand from consumers who have experienced weight stigma and bias, gain insight from specialists working on the ground to tackle the obesity issue and walk away with tools to help you change your practice.

Populism and public health - today’s world of ‘fake news’ and populist leaders is seeing the health of populations suffering from damaging consequences at an increasing level. AFPHM have selected notable leaders within this field to explore the impacts of populism on public health at both local and global levels and will investigate how this issue can be alleviated.

Closing plenary – Physician heal thyself – As a physician, your career is all about improving the health of others — but sometimes this can come at the cost of looking after yourself. Being healthy means more than just the absence of ill-health. It encompasses mental, physical and social wellbeing, and it enables you to practice effectively throughout your career — including during your training.

Through the highs and lows of personal stories of various physicians, along with representation from the New Zealand Medical Council and global experts in health and wellbeing, the closing plenary will give delegates a heartwarming but realistic look into what it takes to heal thyself.

The RACP Congress closing plenary is now becoming renowned to wow delegates and 2019 will not disappoint.

View the entire Congress program and register before Thursday, 28 February to receive the early bird rates.

Member Satisfaction Survey

We want to hear your thoughts on RACP membership via our Member Satisfaction Survey (MSS). The MSS will help us understand your overall satisfaction with the RACP and identify areas for improvement.

All RACP members (including trainees) will receive an email from Woolcott Research this Monday, 25 February 2019, asking them to complete the survey via a link. The survey should take approximately ten minutes and is your opportunity to tell us how you think the RACP is doing.

Woolcott Research provides aggregated results back to the RACP and any individual comments are not identified as being by a specific member.

If you do not receive your survey this Monday contact

Cervical screening questions answered

The latest episode of Pomegranate Health answers questions that women and health professionals have about the HPV-based National Cervical Screening Program.

Listen now

Chief Executive Officer recruitment

The RACP is recruiting for a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to provide strategic and operational direction to the College, with a focus on achieving the College’s strategic priorities.

Read more

Selection into Training

The RACP is supporting Fellows and training providers with their local selection into training.

The College has developed Local Selection at a Glance as a tool to guide all Fellows involved in the recruitment of trainees.

More tools will be developed over the coming months and added to the RACP website. These tools will support training sites and networks to ensure consistency and transparency in their selection process. Resources are being developed in consultation with our members to ensure that we have a robust and effective process aligned to the Selection into Training Policy.

Your input is needed

The RACP has been invited to comment on the draft report of the Specialist and Consultant Physician Consultation Clinical Committee of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce.

The recommendations in this report will have significant implications for the way specialist and consultant physicians work in the future. The report will also help facilitate a better integrated healthcare system, so it is important that the RACP provide a response to these recommendations that are representative of the views of all members. Accordingly the RACP Policy & Advocacy team has invited member input through various channels and will be developing a submission.

If you are keen to share your initial thoughts on the recommendations in the above linked report, email by 5pm on Monday, 25 March. Based on responses received, the RACP Policy & Advocacy team will work with respondents to develop a detailed submission in preparation for the external deadline of Friday, 17 May.

Australian Election Statement update

The College has been developing and consulting internally about its 2019 Australian Commonwealth Election Statement.

The Statement is organised into the four key interlocking priorities of systems reform, prevention, equity and sustainability.

It highlights our `asks’ of government; specifically, the need for an integrated approach to specialist care for people with chronic conditions and the most vulnerable members of our society.

Priority policy areas include obesity prevention and treatment, addressing inequalities in child health care, improving Indigenous child health outcomes and tackling climate change.

Attention also needs to be given to promoting sustainability and protecting planetary health.

While it is imperative patients receive access to an integrated and well-coordinated health system, successful health policies require a whole-of- government approach addressing the myriad of personal, social, economic and environmental determinants of health.

 We look forward to working with the incoming Government to develop policies, programs and initiatives which will improve the health of our communities and the planet.

You are invited to take the pledge

The RACP and many other health organisations have endorsed Doctors for the Environment Australia's (DEA) new campaign called No Time for Games. It calls on Australia’s Prime Minister and Opposition Leader to take urgent climate action to protect children’s health and that of future generations.

This campaign aims to collect 10,000 signatures And DEA are seeking health professionals’ support for four specific measures to protect all children who will be most affected by climate change fundamentals of health, towards healthy cheaper alternatives such as renewable energies

Sign the petition.

Survey for hospital staff

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) is developing a national survey to support the collection of information on safety culture. This project involves consultation with a range of stakeholders

Measurement of safety culture in health settings is seen as an important way to identify safety issues early and drive safety and quality improvement. Safety culture is usually measured through surveys of staff. Frontline staff are often the first to identify concerning patterns of unsafe practice and have the greatest opportunity to observe the conditions which influence such practices. Unlike other countries, Australia has no nationally consistent way of collecting information on safety culture.

As a part of the project, the Commission are conducting a survey of hospital staff. The survey is open to all hospital staff including clinical, auxiliary and support staff. It takes about 10 minutes to complete and is open until Wednesday, 27 February 2019.

Complete the survey

Funding on offer to Australian Fellows

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) grants worth up to $10,000 are available to Fellows living and working in rural and remote Australia.

Find out more

Report released

The RACP Board has resolved to release the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine’s 2017 Future of the Faculty Report to members, along with a subsequent analysis of the Report that was carried out in 2018.

Discussions will begin to consider the report’s recommendations, and will include consultation with the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and the Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine.

A copy of the report and the subsequent analysis of the Report are available online now.

Public Health Physician highlights CPD benefits

"We have a responsibility to protect patient safety and reassure the public that the health system is safe and that taxpayers are getting value for the 10 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that funds our health services," says Dr Sharon O'Rourke.

Read more

Topics you need to know about will be explored at IMS 2019

Register now for the Tri-Nation Alliance annual International Medical Symposium (IMS 2019) — Visioning the impact of advanced technology on medical education, Auckland, New Zealand on Friday, 22 March 2019.

Technology has already had a profound effect on healthcare and medical education sectors and it will significantly transform the way patients are treated and medical students are trained. Be part of the conversation at IMS 2019 as we discuss the future of medical education. Are doctors ready to practise in the technology age? How are you keeping up to date in the digital world? What training do doctors need to stay on top of the game? Are medical college curricula flexible enough to meet the rapid change in technology? What do we need to do to make sure future doctors have the latest knowledge?

At IMS 2019 speakers from around the world will share their knowledge and experience of how technology is changing the way we approach medical education.

  • Professor Enrico Coiera - Trust and AI
  • Professor Jenny Weller - Using simulation training to learn about non-technical skills management
  • Associate Professor Rebecca Grainger - Current research on apps to monitor patient self
  • Mr Andrew Connolly - Informed by AI: the systemic challenges before us
  • Professor Jim Warren - Consumer health information revolution
  • Mr Greg Cross - Using avatars for teaching
  • Dr Jaron Chong - Training radiology residents when machines read imaging
  • Professor Tim Shaw - AI in trainee assessment 

Be part of the conversation and register to attend this one-day event that brings together representatives from international and local specialist medical colleges, medical schools, health services and regulators.

To view more IMS 2019 sessions and to register visit the IMS 2019 website.

Medical Board of Australia consultation

The Medical Board of Australia has released a public consultation paper on complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments. You have the opportunity to provide feedback.

Find out more

Acquired aplastic anaemia a focus

You can now read the newest edition of the Internal Medicine Journal online. Highlights include articles about:

  • revisiting acquired aplastic anaemia
  • sepsis and septic shock
  • physician-researcher careers
  • transgender hormone therapy
  • Vitamin C deficiency in Australia 
  • insulin response to fructose varies by ethnicity
  • lung function of Indigenous Australians

The Editor’s Choice for the month is a review article on the current concepts in the diagnosis and management of acquired aplastic anaemia. It has been authored by Erica Wood, Danielle Clucas, Lucy Fox, Frank Hong, John Gibson,Ashish Bajel, Jeff Szer, Piers Blombery, Zoe McQuilten, Devendra Hiwase, Frank Firkin, Merrole Cole-Sinclai.

Read now

Editorial on pervasive refusal syndrome and Nauru 

The Journal of Paediatrics and Child Heath February 2019 edition is out now. It includes articles about:

  • pervasive refusal syndrome and Nauru
  • paediatric cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • admission temperature and hospital outcomes in extremely preterm infants and
  • lacosamide in children with drug-resistant epilepsy.
Read now
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