The President's Message – 2 October 2020
A common question I hear is “where do my College fees go?” It’s both a fair and very important question that comes up time and time again in surveys. Firstly, we have different fees for specific services. There’s subscription (or member fees), training fees, exam fees and fees for Overseas Trained Physicians.
In addition to fees, further income revenue comes from College investments, Commonwealth STP (Specialist Training Programs) and our College Foundation. In fact, College investments that support both operating funds and the College Foundation have done exceptionally well in the current market because of our conservative strategy.
Obviously, our financial situation has been a little different to what we’d forecast this year. We’ve made some savings in our travel and accommodation budget, but we’ve lost revenue following the postponement of assessments. With all of these ebbs and flows, we’ve strived to provide you, the members, with arguably the same level of service.
The money from fees and our other revenue sources go back into a number of member services. In education, we’re training the physicians of the future. One of our major flagship programs is developing new curricula to reflect the changing practice of medicine. And we’re running a number of projects like computer-based-testing to enhance and modernise our exams.
For Fellows, there’s the protection and recognition that the College offers. Your ongoing learning and development is supported through our extensive CPD program. We have a number of online journals available to members as well as a range of member benefits and discounts.
And of course, in Policy and Advocacy the College has used its voice to call for numerous changes in healthcare across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. For example, this year, our discussions led to a 6-month extension of the MBS telehealth items and clear labelling of alcoholic products with warnings regarding drinking while pregnant.
Just launched is our #MakeItTheNorm campaign calling for health equity to be the norm in Aotearoa New Zealand. And, we will continue to advocate on the important issue of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for members.
Professor John Wilson AM
The dates for the first two exams to be held using computer-based testing (CBT) are now available. The first exam to use CBT will be the Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine (AFRM) Module 1 Assessment on Tuesday, 18 May 2021.
A limited sitting of the Divisional Written Examination (DWE) will then be held on Tuesday, 26 October 2021. Only a small number of locations and candidate places will be available for this exam. The first DWE for the year, to be held on 15 February 2021, will still be run as a paper-based exam. Trainees have previously asked for more than one DWE per year and CBT will help make this possible.
We’ll soon be announcing the chosen CBT suppliers as well as details of the mock exam, tutorials and practice questions for the AFRM Module 1 exam. Arrangements on back up exams and COVID-19 contingencies are also being finalised.
Read more about CBT
A new Divisional Examination resource is now available on the Online Learning platform. This resource has been designed to help Basic Trainees prepare for the written and clinical exams.
The resource includes:
- information on the expected standards and assessment criteria
- video demonstrations of the Clinical Long and Short Cases
- a range of study tools and useful resources
- a platform for building study groups and forming support networks.
If you’re preparing for the upcoming Divisional Clinical Exam, you may be particularly interested in the video demonstrations of Long and Short Cases. The Long Cases are performed in the traditional exam format, however, if you’re preparing for the upcoming virtual Long Cases you’ll still be able to apply the principles for your exam. Please note the resource has been developed based on the traditional Divisional exam formats, not the new modular clinical exam format.
You’re invited to a special three-part COVID-19 Symposia as part of this years’ free Online Congress Series. 2020 has been a challenging year for healthcare and our community. Over three sessions we will explore the complexities of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our focus will be on clinical aspects of the pandemic and will involve clinicians who have been treating COVID-19 patients, experts in epidemiology, drug therapy, vaccinations and research.
The first symposium COVID-19 – Emerging patterns: in illness and in therapies will be held on Thursday, 15 October 2020 from 5.30pm to 7pm (AEDT), 7.30pm to 9pm (NZDT). Our understanding of COVID-19 and its clinical course, especially post-acute, continues to develop. We know that many chemicals can kill viruses like COVID-19 in the lab. However, ensuring they are safe and effective for patient use is a completely different process. Before we can design any drug therapy trials, we need knowledge of drugs, pharmacology and a clinical understanding of the physiology of COVID-19.
I will be Chairing the session with presentations from:
- Mr Karl Schurr – The lived experience: A patient’s perspective
- Professor Gregory Dore – Epidemiology and sequelae in adults
- Professor Jennifer Martin – Drug therapy: developments and usage
- Dr Philip Britton – Epidemiology and sequelae in children
I look forward to seeing you.
Dr Jacqueline Small
Chair, College Policy and Advocacy Committee
Future COVID-19 Symposia – More information coming soon
Vaccinations: What we know and where we are going
Addressing new technologies, safety, strategies for the elderly population and vaccine allocation, Thursday, 22 October 2020 from 5.30pm to 7pm (AEDT), 7.30pm to 9pm (NZDT).
COVID-19: Redesigning healthcare systems
- Community support from a Victorian perspective
- Various models of care for different patient groups such as inpatients, people with disabilities and those in ICU
- Aotearoa New Zealand Indigenous community decisions
- Equity and human rights
Thursday, 29 October 2020 from 5.30pm to 7pm (AEDT), 7.30pm to 9pm (NZDT).
Upcoming livestream webinars and the Online Congress Fringe experience
The 2020 Online Congress Series continues throughout the rest of the year and is available on the Online Congress Series platform for you to access at any time. Register now to join Chair, Dr Yong Shen Wee and speakers Dr Kylie Burns, Associate Professor Damon Bell and Professor Christian Hamilton Craig for the Heart disease management update across the life continuum webinar, on Tuesday, 6 October 2020.
This session will provide a life course perspective on heart disease management from congenital connective tissues diseases such as Marfans, through to heart disease in pregnancy and the latest on the management of heart failure in the general population.
All trainees are welcome to attend this free event
You’re invited to join trainees from Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia, at Te Hui ā-Ataata mō te Waiora o ngā Tauira Mahi, the Trainees' Wellbeing Webinar. Hosted by the Aotearoa New Zealand Trainees’ Committee, this free webinar will be held on Thursday, 15 October from 6pm to 9pm (NZDT) or 4pm to 7pm (AEDT).
You won't want to miss one of the highlights on the programme, Sense and sensibility: Psychoneuroimmunology, resilience and wellbeing by Associate Professor Roger Booth (Kaikōrero Matua / keynote speaker).
The key psychophysiological relationships linking experiences and explanations will be discussed. Associate Professor Booth will explore how we can use this knowledge to improve our resilience and life-satisfaction in a continually changing and uncertain world.
We encourage all trainees to register for this free webinar and for Fellows to suggest it to those who may be interested.
Indigenous Scholarships and Prizes
The RACP Indigenous Health Scholarship Program is an opportunity for those who identify as Māori, Pacific Islander, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander to receive support throughout their Basic, Advanced, Faculty or Chapter training in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia. Applications close: Monday, 30 November 2020.
- RACP training fees for the duration of the recipient's selected training programme
- examination fees
- attendance at the annual RACP Congress or other relevant Scientific Meeting or Trainee Days
- $2,500 AUD cash assistance at the beginning of the Scholarship
- other support as advised in the letter of offer.
The AChAM Indigenous Prize supports medical students and junior medical officers, who identify as Māori, Pacific Islander, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander to attend the International Medicine in Addiction Conference. Applications close: Friday, 30 October 2020.
Applications open soon for the RACP President's Indigenous Congress Prize. The Prize offers an invaluable opportunity to a medical student, junior medical officer or physician trainee, who identifies as Māori, Pacific Islander, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander to attend the RACP Congress.
Last week, we launched #MakeItTheNorm ahead of the 2020 Aotearoa New Zealand general election to be held on Saturday, 17 October. We are calling for health equity to be the norm in Aotearoa New Zealand.
We know that health is supported by much more than the healthcare system. This is why our campaign looks beyond the traditional boundaries of our work to the factors that promote good health and wellbeing, to the social, economic and political determinants of health.
In #MakeItTheNorm, we recommend systems-level change for the creation of health in Aotearoa New Zealand. We weave together four social determinants (Healthy Housing, Good Work, Whānau Wellbeing, Health Equity), in the context of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. We draw on the evidence base, the experiences and stories of our members, and our values of service to humanity.
Join your College to #MakeItTheNorm by sharing our animated story of Tom and his whānau, reading our short position statements and recommendations for change, and using #MakeItTheNorm on social media to spread the word.
Find out more
We’re pleased to announce the release of our latest RACP Member Statistics and Insights Report to you.
Using data as at 30 June 2020, the Report is presented in an easily readable, visual form that provides Fellow and trainee membership data across Australia and New Zealand, both at a high level and down to considerable detail by:
- Division, Faculty and Chapter
- physician career stage
- regional distribution in both countries
- international membership
- demographics such as age, gender distribution and members who identify as either Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, and Māori.
The report also identifies trends in cohort growth, emphasising the rapidly changing nature of our profession. The Member Statistics and Insights Report is available online. We invite you to download a copy and read on to find out more. Please send any feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the report
The 2020 Physician Training Survey will be available on Thursday, 22 October. This is your chance to help strengthen RACP training programs and the workplace experiences in the settings in which you work and train. With the impacts of COVID-19 on training throughout this year, it’s more important than ever that we understand your experience.
The survey will be open to trainees and educators across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. For the first time, it includes our Public Health and Occupational and Environmental Medicine trainees and educators.
It is completely anonymous and your participation helps us build robust data so we can make evidence-informed improvements to your training. This includes support for your health and wellbeing. For information about the survey, including confidentiality and how you could win an iPad in the prize draw, please visit the Physician Training Survey page.
The survey has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) – Concord Repatriation General Hospital of the Sydney Local Health District 2019/ETH12472. If you have any concerns or complaints about the conduct of the research study, please email the Executive Officer of the Ethics Committee or call +61 2 9767 5622.
The College wants to hear from you about the health and social policy issues that you consider important. We would like to understand what you see are the key strategic policy and advocacy priorities for the College for 2021 and beyond.
Please complete this short survey which will close on Friday, 9 October 2020 at 5pm (AEDT) . The survey only takes five to 10 minutes to complete.
Your recommendations will be considered by the College Policy & Advocacy Council (CPAC). CPAC includes representatives from the College’s Divisions, Faculties, Chapters and Regions, our Indigenous Committees, trainee and consumer representatives and members of CPAC’s skills-based Executive Committee. Thank you for your time and interest.
Our online cultural competence course supports the provision of culturally competent and culturally safe, best practice medicine for those who identify as Māori, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients. It allows you to reflect on your own cultural values and recognise their influence on your 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 and recommended supporting materials. Accessible anywhere and optimised for mobile on-the-go learning, RACP Online Learning Resources are free for members and count towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements.
On 16 September 2020, Professor Elizabeth Elliott appeared on behalf of the RACP before a hearing of the Senate Inquiry into Effective approaches to prevention, diagnosis and support for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Professor Elliott was joined during the session by the AMA’s Professor Steve Robson and Dr Tim Senior of the RACGP.
In her testimony, Professor Elliott acknowledged progress that has been made on FASD since the first inquiry into the disorder was completed in 2012. This includes the national FASD strategy, a dedicated hub and register and additional Government funding for diagnosis, as well as treatment and prevention.
Professor Elliott noted that the funds should be allocated to public services that are freely accessible to those who require them the most and invited the Government to work with members to ensure that these services address patient needs. She highlighted the need for increased funding for multidisciplinary services targeting a range of neurodevelopmental disorders, including but not limited to FASD, and reiterated the College’s support for evidence-based, population-level interventions: volumetric taxation, minimum pricing, reduction in opening hours and license density, and restrictions on advertising and promotion.
Professor Elliott stressed that FASD is a preventable cause of brain injury, disability, and birth defects with lifelong consequences. She said that while the Government must fund a range of services that assist women to abstain in pregnancy, diagnose and treat FASD, and support people living with FASD and their families, prevention is the clear priority for the future.
The RACP, in partnership with the Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine, has launched the latest Evolve Top-5 recommendations on low-value practices.
Practitioners of all disciplines, not just addiction medicine specialists, will come across patients who experience substance addiction and may have to play a substantial role in their management.
The newest Evolve Top-5 recommendations asks clinicians to:
- be aware of the potentially detrimental consequences of deprescribing opioids to people with chronic pain who are opioid dependent (even as they are also aware of the harms of overprescribing opioids for chronic pain)
- follow best-practice approaches to elective withdrawal and pharmacological care for substance use disorder by ensuring that support plans and services are available to affected patients
- be cognisant of the fact that patients and their carers are often in such distress that they might advocate for treatments that are not evidence-based. In such cases, practitioners might refer to off-label use guidelines, seek a second opinion, and provide the patent/carer with clear information on such treatment options
- embrace a universal precautions approach for any medication with a potential for misuse, so that risk assessment, monitoring, clear communication and harm minimisation are all standard components in treating patients who use such medication.
For more information about the latest Evolve recommendations visit the Evolve website.
New Evolve Case Studies
To support the implementation of Evolve recommendations in clinical practice, we have launched a series of case studies exploring a clinical scenario based on one of the Evolve recommendations on low-value care. Dr Sern Wei Yeoh and Dr Su Win Htike have recently led the development of three new case studies about genetic testing for coeliac genes, using thyroid ultrasound in patients with abnormal thyroid function, and glucose self-monitoring in adults with stable type 2 diabetes.
View case studies
Get involved with Evolve
Evolve is seeking enthusiastic Fellows and trainees to partner with us in developing case studies for more specialties. The aim of the case studies is to support Fellows and trainees to build an understanding of low-value care within their specialty and act as a tool for clinical educators and supervisors.
Email us to get involved
The ongoing global pandemic has confronted the Australian Government and Australians more broadly with a unique and wide-ranging set of public health and socioeconomic challenges which will reverberate well into the future.
As the Australian Government prepares to deliver its decisive COVID-era budget, the RACP suggests that these ambitious but essential goals can be achieved by investing judiciously in:
- telehealth and digital health
- residential care (including aged and disability accommodation)
- health system preparedness and protection of healthcare workers
- funding for specific groups.
These recommendations are meant as a supplement and amplification of the comprehensive 2020-21 Pre-Budget Submission released by the College in December 2019.
In 2019, the College joined the Obesity Collective. The Collective is a platform for committed individuals and organisations from across the community to take on the challenge of obesity together, with empathy and from a whole-of-society perspective.
Recently, the Collective developed a code of conduct for discussions around obesity. The code notes that obesity is a whole-of-society challenge that is always complex and at times contentious. Reflecting both the current evidence and the range of perspectives on obesity, the code lists six principles intended to assist in a respectful, balanced and effective conversation on the subject. The code is intended as a living document.
The Collective is seeking member feedback on the code. Please provide your comments via email to Dorota.Sacha-Krol@racp.edu.au by close of business Friday, 2 October 2020.
On 18 September 2020, the government announced a six-month extension of the MBS telehealth items introduced to cover the COVID-19 pandemic. Items used by specialists will continue unchanged.
We recently delivered feedback from a member survey to the Federal Government which outlined the benefits to patients that have been delivered from telehealth. This was used to advocate for telehealth extension, and we are pleased that our constructive discussions with Government have resulted in this outcome.
In 2015, the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) and the Faculty of Pain Medicine (FPM) published the fourth edition of Acute Pain Management: Scientific Evidence. As there has been a continuing and large increase in the quantity and quality of information available about acute pain management, ANZCA and FPM have reassessed the available evidence and led the revision and update of the document – the fifth edition.
The College was invited to provide feedback on the updated document, but due to the limited timeframe a College submission was not possible. ANZCA and FPM will be seeking College endorsement of the final document. Consultation with members will occur at this stage of the project.
The current consultation of the fifth edition of Acute Pain Management: Scientific Evidence can be viewed on the ANZCA website, should members wish to provide individual feedback.
The September 2020 issue of the IMJ (Vol 50 Iss 9) is now live. The Editor's Choice is a OA Bortezomib use and outcomes for the treatment of multiple myeloma by Crystal Loke, Peter Mollee, Ian McPherson, Euan Walpole, Mimi Yue, Howard Mutsando, Philip Wong, Helen Weston, Ross Tomlinson, Samantha Hollingworth
Key highlights from the issue are:
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Intracranial haemorrhage in aged care facility residents
- Direct-acting antivirals to treat hepatitis C
- Efficacy of methotrexate in polymyalgia rheumatica
- Bortezomib use and outcomes in treating multiple myeloma
- Botulinum toxin A in paediatric rehabilitation.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has just published new regulatory guidance for faecal microbiota transplant (FMT) products.
You can access the guidance documents below:
Read more on the TGA's webpages:
If you would like to know more about the regulation of FMT products, please email the TGA’s Biological Science Section or call 1800 678 799.
As a valued member you can access insurance from Vero.
Vero has two levels of home and contents insurance cover to protect your home, contents and valuables. Compare the options below an choose the best cover for you:
Secure Home Extra Insurance cover for your home and contents in the case of insured events such as storms, fire, flood, theft, burglary, and vandalism. You can upgrade to Secure Home Elite Insurance to also include accidental damage cover.
Visit your Member Advantage benefits website for more information.
This may contain general advice and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Conditions and Exclusions apply. A Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) is available for this product, and can be requested when you call for a quote, or can be downloaded from the Vero website: www.vero.com.au. You should consider the PDS before deciding whether to buy any of these products. The insurer is AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 AFSL 230859 trading as Vero Insurance.
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