The President's Message – 4 October 2019
The past month has been filled with opportunities to learn and create change.
The RACP's Early Childhood Health Roundtable was held on Thursday, 19 September. The event brought together leading paediatricians, doctors from other disciplines, policymakers, experts from the NGO sector, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants, and MPs from around the country to turn the National Action Plan for the Health of Children and Young People 2020-2030 from a plan into action.
From here we travelled to Canada for the TriNations Alliance meeting. The TriNations Alliance is a collaboration with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists A key outcome of this meeting was confirmation of the intent to extend an invitation to the other specialist colleges and the general practice college in our respective countries to join.
The Australian Indigenous Doctors Association (AIDA) conference was held in Darwin this week.
The theme this year was Disruptive Innovations in Health Care. Achieving better health for all requires innovations that build on the capabilities of individuals, institutions, health care settings and the communities in which they serve. Congratulations to everyone who was involved in the College’s session yesterday on community collaboration in specialist outreach services.
Tomorrow marks the start of Mental Health Week, which includes World Mental Health Day on Thursday, 10 October.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to take care of both your physical and mental wellbeing, and to look out for others in our medical community. Take this opportunity to also think about the measures you can put in place to set yourself up for long-term wellbeing.
As a part of our commitment to supporting the welfare of all our members, I’m proud to announce the release of the RACP Physician Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2019-2021.
The strategy is one of the key initiatives from our Strategic Plan and it sets the RACP’s path for health and wellbeing over the next three years.
Don’t forget that if you or a colleague are experiencing any kind of mental ill-health, the RACP Support Program is available 24 hours, seven days a week. It is a free and independent helpline managed by Converge International. The support program is available to all Fellows and trainees, and nothing that you discuss will be shared with the College or with your employer.
Finally, we were pleased to announce this week that the College’s new Chief Executive Officer Peter McIntyre starts with us on Monday, 28 October 2019. Peter’s broad experience including leading large professional member-based organisations, will no doubt be an exciting opportunity for us all.
Associate Professor Mark Lane
A delegation of AChAM and St Vincent’s Health representatives visited Australian Parliament House on Wednesday, 11 September to discuss the medical community’s strong opposition to the Government’s proposed drug testing trials and strengthen our ongoing relationships. The RACP has advocated on this issue since 2017 and legislation to introduce the trials has failed several attempts to pass the Senate.
AChAM President Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones, past President Professor Adrian Reynolds and Associate Professor Nadine Ezard met with key politicians. They also attended a St Vincent’s workshop with other key NGOs to progress advocacy on reform of the alcohol and other drugs treatment system.
Dr Lloyd-Jones and Professor Reynolds then represented the College at the Senate Inquiry's Public Hearing in Canberra on Wednesday, 2 October 2019.
More information about the RACP’s position on these drug testing trials is available on the Chapter of Addiction Medicine pages.
The Paediatrics & Child Health Division held an Early Childhood Health Roundtable at Parliament House, Canberra on Thursday, 19 September 2019. Approximately 40 delegates attended, including MPs, key NGOs and leading paediatricians, as well as our two Parliamentary Paediatric Fellows Professor Katie Allen and Dr Mike Freelander. The Roundtable built on the recently announced National Action Plan for the Health of Children and Young People 2020-2030 and RACP position statements on Early Childhood and Inequities in Child Health. It follows on from our successful 2018 child health forum where the development of the Action Plan was first announced.
Minister for Health Greg Hunt MP, and Shadow Minister for Health Chris Bowen MP, both spoke at the event and expressed their commitment to implementing the Action Plan, as well as their appreciation of the engagement and advice from the group of experts the College has brought together.
College staff will continue to work with key paediatric Fellows in the coming months to develop a report of findings identifying the critical priority areas and focus areas for early childhood health over the next ten years.
The Hon. Chris Bowen MP, Professor Paul Colditz FRACP, Professor Sharon Goldfeld FAFPHM FRACP, Dr Mike Freelander MP, Professor Valsamma Eapen RANZCP, The Hon. Greg Hunt MP
Registrations are now open for the Tri-nation Alliance International Medical Symposium (IMS), 20 March 2020, Amora Hotel Sydney, Australia.
Now in its ninth year IMS is an annual event that reinforces the strong historical relationship between medical professions from Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Cementing these ties, a formal agreement between the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, The Royal Australasian College of Physicians, The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, The Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists and the Royal Australasian College of Psychiatrists created the Tri-Nations Alliance.
The IMS 2020 theme, Providing care to underserved populations is relevant to health professionals from all member countries. With a focus on higher medical education, delegates will explore how specialist training can support and enhance access to health care for critical populations experiencing difficulties in accessing healthcare, potentially due to location or isolation, social determinants or other specific issues.
RACP Quarterly is the RACP's member magazine.
Articles in the September/October 2019 edition include:
- New discovery in the fight against Vitamin D deficiency
- In-flight medical emergencies: Is there a doctor on board?
- Obesity: Rising to the challenge
- Medical needs of adolescent refugees resettling in Western Australia
Download RACP Quarterly September/October 2019.
Access previous editions of RACP Quarterly on the RACP website.
Eric Susman Prize
The Eric Susman Prize is a prestigious award which is presented annually to a Fellow of the College who has made an outstanding contribution to the knowledge of any branch of internal medicine (adult medicine or paediatrics)
Fellows are invited to submit nominations for the 2019 Eric Susman Prize.
The closing date for nominations has been extended to Thursday, 10 October 2019.
RACP Indigenous Health Scholarships 2020
The RACP appreciates the value and experience Indigenous and Māori doctors can provide to the health sector and communities in treating Indigenous and Māori health issues.
The RACP Indigenous Health Scholarship Program provides funded pathways through physician training.
Applications are now invited for 2020 Indigenous Health Scholarships and close Saturday, 30 November 2019.
The Australian Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori Cultural Competence online course has been designed to support the provision of culturally competent and culturally safe, best practice medicine for Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori patients through reflection on physician’s own cultural values and recognition of their influence on professional practice.
The course explores:
- how our own cultures and belief systems influence professional practice
- cultural competence and cultural safety within social, cultural and clinical environments
- how cultural competence and cultural safety principles can be applied to improve Indigenous patient health outcomes and experience of care
Developed by experts and RACP Fellows, the user-friendly course features a mix of in-depth content, video scenarios, reflection and discussion activities, as well as recommended supporting materials.
RACP Online Learning Resources are free for members and count towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements.
Meeting the requirements of Category 3 - Measuring Outcomes in the 2019 MyCPD framework
There are important changes to the MyCPD framework that came into effect in January 2019 and that will affect all physicians.
One of these changes is encouragement for doctors to complete CPD activities that measure performance by investigating.
More information is available on the CPD pages of the RACP website.
In the previous episode we talked about the science of pain, opioid analgesia and dependence. Now we look at the influence of culture, regulation and marketing on opioid prescribing for chronic non-cancer pain. First, we ask which are the prescription opioids most commonly leading to dependence and why are they prescribed? Then we discuss the mixed messages that prescribers are getting from guidelines and pharmaceutical regulation. Ever-relaxing indications for pharmaceutical subsidies can nudge prescribing behaviour in the wrong direction.
Tasmania was for many years the worst performer on measures of opioid use and harm, but this all began to turn around from 2006. Addiction medicine specialist Associate Professor Adrian Reynolds explains how education, regulation and real-time prescription monitoring were brought together in that state.
Finally, an undeniable influencer of prescribing behaviour are the promotional campaigns organised by pharmaceutical companies. Pain medicine specialist Dr Chris Hayes explains that those within the medical profession should not be surprised by this, but should be wary so their professional judgement isn’t compromised. A couple of case studies provide context for the RACP’s Guidelines for ethical relationships between health professionals and industry.
Dr Christopher Hayes FFPMANZCA (Director Hunter Integrated Pain Service)
Clinical Associate Professor Adrian Reynolds FAChAM (Clinical Director Alcohol and Drug Service, Tasmania)
Fellows of the RACP can claim CPD credits via MyCPD for listening to this episode.
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The Australian Department of Health is currently consulting on the draft Health Legislation Amendment (Data-matching) Bill 2019. This legislative change is proposed to support data matching for specified Medicare compliance activities.
If you wish to know more about the details of this legislative change or participate in the consultation, please visit the Department of Health website.
This consultation is open from 23 September and will close at 5pm on Friday, 11 October 2019.
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