The President's Message – 6 September 2019
I’d like to update you on our progress in working with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) to improve RACP Board culture and governance.
Effective Governance, the organisation of governance experts approved by the ACNC, has now started working with the College. They have requested and are now reviewing a number of documents. They have also sent out a targeted survey and are conducting interviews with key College staff. All of these will feed into an initial review of both the Board and the current structure and functions of the College itself.
You can read more about the scope of that review in the Cover Letter and clauses eight to 10 of the Compliance Agreement we have signed with the ACNC. As the agreement explains, Effective Governance’s progress reports will be posted on our website every two months. They are aware of our upcoming election cycle and the keys bits of work needed to be in place before that, to ensure that the elections will proceed in an open, transparent and democratic manner.
By around the end of March 2020, Effective Governance is expected to provide the ACNC with the final outcome of their review and a recommended action plan, a summary of which will be posted on our website. If the action plan is approved, they are expected to then monitor our progress against that plan until around March 2021, at which point a final report will be prepared and made available to members.
Our delivery of policy and advocacy work and our key education and accreditation programs will continue as normal throughout this process.
On that note I’d like to extend our best wishes to all candidates who have recently completed, or are preparing for their Faculty exams.
In the past fortnight we’ve had 50 candidates attempt the AFRM Fellowship Clinical Examination (Adult Medicine) and four candidates for the Australasian Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine (AChSHM) Exit Assessment.
This weekend we have the AFOEM Written Examinations (Stage A and B), followed by the AFRM Fellowship Clinical Examination (Paediatrics & Child Health) next weekend. Please know that as a College, we are behind you and that there are resources available, including our free and confidential helpline managed by Converge International, if you need support.
It’s also timely to thank all of our members involved in the examination process. Our ability to run exams is truly a whole-of-College effort, whether you’re an assessor, write examination questions, help on the day, or if you support your colleagues by changing shifts so they can prepare and attend their examination.
We couldn’t do it without you.
Associate Professor Mark Lane
You are invited to join members of your RACP Board at an informal meeting on Thursday, 26 September from 5.30pm to 7.15pm at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney. You will have the opportunity to engage in conversation and network with other Fellows and trainees.
Numbers are limited, so register today to avoid disappointment. Please RSVP by Thursday, 19 September and advise any dietary or accessibility requirements.
As many of you will know, in 2017 the Medical Board of Australia released a final report from the Expert Advisory Group on re-validation
. In response to this report, the Medical Board launched the Professional Performance Framework (PPF)
, which will create changes affecting all Australian registered medical practitioners. The Medical Board’s PPF is evidence-based and builds on existing initiatives. It will be implemented progressively, with some elements requiring significant planning, consultation and development. The Medical Board continues to consult Specialist Medical Colleges on the proposed changes and many College committees are highly engaged in the consultation process.
Over the past year, we have been working hard to prepare you for the implementation of the Medical Board’s PPF. This includes amendments to the 2019 MyCPD framework
, which now includes two categories on reviewing performance and measuring outcomes.
Our Fellows in New Zealand will be well-equipped to meet the 2019 MyCPD requirements, as peer review and audit has been a mandatory requirement for re-certification for many years, set by the Medical Council of New Zealand. However, the 2019 MyCPD framework may mean some Australian Fellows will need to change the way they complete their CPD.
We acknowledge the feedback from some of our Australian members advising that the changes, resulting from implementation of the Medical Board’s PPF, will significantly impact their practice. This feedback has informed our response to the Medical Board throughout the consultation process. We are currently developing further resources to add to the support available for Fellows to meet their CPD requirements.
The CPD team is here to support you through these changes. Please contact them on MyCPD@racp.edu.au
We understand you’re busy and on-the go, so discover our quality online education. Access a range of online learning courses, resources, lectures, curated collections and podcasts which have all been developed by members, for members. The interactive nature of our online learning resources enable you to learn from your peers. Accessible anywhere and optimised for mobile on-the-go learning, RACP Online Learning Resources are free for members and count towards CPD requirements.
As the new MyCPD Framework comes into effect, Fellows incorporating the changes into their practice and lifestyles speak to us about their approaches to CPD.
Professor Robyn Lucas is a public health physician medically trained in epidemiology. She is the Head of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University’s Research School of Population Health, College of Health and Medicine. Professor Lucas discussed her approach to CPD with us.
Why is CPD important to you?
CPD activities help me maintain my knowledge and expertise across the breadth of public health practice. As an academic, it is easy to lose the skills and knowledge that I might use in a public health unit. But the range of work I do as part of my CPD (such as being an examiner, writing exam questions and providing population health presentations) helps me keep abreast. CPD also forces me to spend time reflecting on my work, and to check-in and discuss it with my peers. The reflection on what I submit is as important to me as the items submitted.
What are the benefits of you completing CPD activities?
The College benefits from my CPD activities in many ways. These benefits include my work on College committees, as Chair of the Faculty Education Committee and leading the national examination preparation teleconferences. Many of my CPD activities relate to my academic work on environmental risk factors to health. My publications and presentations focus on potentially modifiable risk factors to health, such as diet and multiple sclerosis, health risks of exposure to Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
What are some of the CPD activities you choose to do and why?
Many of my CPD activities relate to my day-to-day work. This involves time spent reading to prepare for writing papers, writing and publishing the papers, and communicating the findings of that research at conferences and to relevant population groups, and policy makers. The practice review elements are always a little more challenging – both confronting sometimes, and more difficult to organise. We are now developing a small group of public health physicians at my workplace, so this is a good opportunity to have a discussion about how we are working in relation to public health medicine. I think the main thing for this is for it to be recognised as a supportive environment. We are working together to improve our practice, rather than trying to critique each other. And again, that element of reflection is incredibly valuable.
How do you meaningfully plan your CPD activities and measure their outcomes?
Under the current scheme, I am pretty sure I am going to be able to fulfill my CPD requirements through my usual work activities. So I don’t plan much at all. The outcomes for me are measurable in papers published, the number of people who view the paper and cite the paper etc. Outcomes measurement can also include the changes that may follow in terms of advice to people, populations, and perhaps policy changes. Under the new CPD scheme I think I may have to plan a little more carefully to ensure that I can meet the requirements under some of the categories.
Why is reviewing performance and measuring outcomes important?
How do you know how you are tracking in terms of your competence if you are not reviewing your performance and measuring outcomes? As an academic, outcomes are all-important. It is not worth doing the work if it doesn’t have some sort of impact. I know that it would be easy to just have a narrow focus on my specific research area, but it is really important to me, that if I am going to be a public health physician, to know I can function across the breadth of public health practice if I need to. It’s really important to me that I stay up-to-date with that.
There's just one week to go until nominations close for selected College prizes, so apply today. These prizes acknowledge outstanding contributions and achievements made by Fellows and trainees. Submit your nomination by Monday, 16 September 2019.
- The John Sands Medal recognises a Fellow who makes a significant contribution to the welfare of the RACP and its members.
- The College Medal recognises a Fellow who makes a significant contribution to medical specialist practice, healthcare and/or community health through physician activities.
- The RACP International Medal recognises a member who has provided outstanding service in developing countries.
- The Medal for Clinical Service in Rural and Remote Areas recognises a Fellow who has provided outstanding clinical service in rural and remote areas of Australia or New Zealand.
- The Mentor of the Year Award presented to a Fellow who has made an outstanding contribution to mentoring or providing a high level of support and guidance throughout training.
- The Trainee of the Year Award presented to a trainee who has made an outstanding contribution to College, community and trainee activities.
The Eric Susman Prize is awarded annually to a Fellow of the College for the best contribution to the knowledge of any branch of internal medicine (adult medicine or paediatrics). Submit your nominations before Monday, 30 September 2019.
For further details on these and other prizes, please visit the Foundation webpage.
We’re excited to announce the training settings that will be the first to adopt the new Basic Training program. We will be working with the Gold Coast University Hospital, Starship Children’s Hospital Auckland, The Townsville Hospital and Women’s and Children’s Hospital Adelaide to start rolling out the new Basic Training programs from 2020. Thank you to everyone who submitted an expression of interest to become an early adopter of the new program.
We are also seeking expressions of interest for additional training settings to join those listed above as early adopters of the new Basic Training programs from 2021.
Key changes coming to the Basic Training programs
Watch our video to learn more about RACP's Basic Training curricula renewal. More information on the new Basic Training programs is available on the Basic Training curricula renewal pages.
You are invited to submit your feedback
on the proposed 2021-22 PREP Advanced Training Program
Requirements. Consultation is open to everyone and the short survey should only take 5-10 minutes to complete.
Your input will help shape future training pathways. Please have your say and complete the survey by Thursday, 26 September 2019.
Good luck to all our trainees who will be attempting the AFOEM Written Examinations (Stage A and B) from Saturday, 7 to Sunday, 8 September and the AFRM Fellowship Clinical Examination (Paediatrics & Child Health) on Saturday, 14 September 2019. We wish you all the best for your exams.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself while you prepare. There are a number of resources available on our website including Instructions to Candidates on the exams page. If you need support in the lead up to, or following your exam, the RACP Support Program is available 24 hours, seven days a week. This free, fully confidential and independent helpline is available to all Fellows and trainees and is managed by Converge International.
We’re looking for talented members to lead extra-curricular experiences for delegates at RACP Congress 2020 in Melbourne.
Do you have a special interest outside of medicine you would like to share? Perhaps you're a talented photographer, a meditation guru, singer, author or a Melbourne enthusiast. Volunteer to lead a session at the RACP Congress Fringe Experience.
You are invited to a My Health Record webinar on Wednesday, 18 September 2019 from 1pm to 2pm AEST. It is intended for healthcare providers caring for children; from early stages to adolescence.
The webinar will provide an overview of the national My Health Record system, with an update on adoption across the health sector. Subject matter experts will highlight the clinical information available and how this may be used by healthcare providers in their day-to-day practice.
This session will also clarify the privacy and consent obligations and security features supporting the national system.
The dramatic headlines about the opioid crisis are all-too familiar by now. Australia and New Zealand have followed the lead of the US, and seen a fourfold increase in opioid use over the last thirty years. Most of this prescribing has been for chronic non-cancer pain, but systematic reviews will tell you that that there are no decent trials that would warrant use for this indication.
In this podcast we’ll discuss some of the latest studies that have actually followed pain patients long-term, and provided evidence against the efficacy of chronic opioid use. Addiction medicine specialist Professor Adrian Reynolds (Director Hunter Integrated Pain Service) talks about how to identify patients that have developed dependence on or addiction to opioids and how to wean them off this medication. And pain medicine specialist Chris Hayes (Clinical Director Alcohol and Drug Service, Tasmania) describes an alternative approach to therapy, that involves breaking maladaptive pain associations in the nervous system.
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Fellows of the RACP can claim CPD credits via MyCPD for listening and using resources related to this episode.
The Journal of Paediatrics and Child Heath September 2019 edition is out now. It features an article on the outcomes and needs of health and education professionals following fetal alcohol spectrum disorder-specific training.
Other topics this month include:
- Severe phenibut poisoning: An adolescent case cluster
- Incidence of epilepsy in children born prematurely and small for gestational age at term gestation: A population-based cohort study
- Improving the quality of hospital care for Indigenous adolescents: Experiences from the Top End.
- Potentially fatal haemorrhage: A rare complication of intra-oral trauma
- Influence of maternal and placental facors on newborn body composition.
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has invited the College to comment on its draft Peripheral Venous Access Clinical Care Standard. If you wish to help us develop a response to this draft, please email your comments on the draft standard by close of business Wednesday, 11 September 2019. You are also welcome to submit your own submission.
AHPRA and National Boards have released their first practitioner experience video as part of the ‘Let’s talk about it’ videos. Practitioners can use it as a resource to support them when they have a notification made about them.
The video, 'Putting it in perspective: a practitioner’s notification experience', shares a practitioner’s first-hand account. It messages the importance keeping the process in perspective and seeking help.
The Medical Training Survey
by the Medical Board of Australia is open now and all doctors in training in Australia are invited to participate. If you’re a doctor in training, now is the time for you to call out the strengths and weaknesses of medical training in Australia. Results will create an evidence base for consolidation or change and provide a baseline for ongoing improvements.
Please use the below links to read our other eBulletins:
Inflexibility of training and work, and a lack of work-life balance are important issues affecting medical career choices. Please complete a short survey which takes less than 5 minutes. The survey will collect data on factors impacting career choices, along with a small component on social media interaction. It is intended for all physicians and trainees, regardless of gender.