The President's Message – 24 February 2020

I’d like to recognise the hard work of Fellows and staff in successfully staging the 2020 Basic Training Divisional Written Exam at 19 sites across Australia and New Zealand last week. Most importantly, I want to acknowledge the intense preparation and lead up by all 1,252 candidates, with results expected to be released on 12 March.

An increasing number of our trainees are female and based on current trends, within a decade women will outnumber men across the Fellowship. We recognise the importance of gender equity in the medical profession, and I’m pleased to announce the Fellowship Committee is establishing a Gender Equity in Medicine Working Group (GEMWG).

This group will develop an understanding of the gender equity issues and barriers experienced by Fellows and trainees and what we can do to better support gender equity in medicine. I encourage you to apply today to be involved in this important College initiative.

As many of you will have seen, College Elections are now underway. If you feel strongly about governance of your College - this is your opportunity to be part of shaping our future. Nominations are open for election or appointment to numerous positions on Division, Faculty and Chapter Councils and Committees across Australia and New Zealand. Our Regional Councils and Committees are the engine room of the College – where a lot of our work is done. I invite you to look at position descriptions and think about how you could contribute.

We’ve also confirmed nominees for Board Director and College President-Elect positions and have made some automatic appointments to Division, Faculty and Chapter College Body positions where there was only a single nominee.

Once voting opens on 5 March 2020 for the Board director positions, we will prominently place on our website links to candidates statements for contested Board Director positions. Voting will run until 3 April, with provisional results released on 17 April and confirmed at the AGM on 4 May.

Continuing the theme of Governance, late last year we released Effective Governance’s report to the ACNC on how Board and College Governance and culture could be improved. The Board has asked Chief Executive Officer Peter McIntyre to develop an implementation plan to get these many important changes underway. We will keep you updated on progress.

Finally, one of our RACP Fellows has been bestowed with a very distinguished award. Dame Margaret Sparrow FAChSHM has been awarded Senior New Zealander of the Year for her extraordinary contributions to the field of sexual and reproductive health and has been a trailblazer in the campaign for legal abortions in New Zealand. The New Zealander of the Year Awards celebrate those people who use their passion for New Zealand to make New Zealand a better place.

Please join me in congratulating Dame Margaret.

Kind regards,

Associate Professor Mark Lane
President, RACP

College elections

The College elections are now open allowing the next generation of College leaders to step up and shape the agenda and future of the RACP.

On 18 February 2020, the call for nominations for vacant regional, divisions, faculty and chapter positions was announced. Nominations close Wednesday, 18 March. For full details, please visit the elections page.

You are encouraged to be involved in this process and take part in shaping our College’s future.

Nominate today

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Hurry, early bird for Congress 2020 closes 3 March

Register now to earn one CPD credit for every hour you attend Congress. But hurry, as discounted early bird pricing ends Tuesday, 3 March.

Too busy to attend three days? Consider a day registration rate.

 Register to hear:

  • an open panel discussion around the challenges of gender equity for female, male and LGBTQIA professionals
  • TED style presentations on the pressing health issues that Australia’s Indigenous communities are facing
  • the role of design in health in cities.
  • what the future could look like in an equitable working environment
  • How we can improve health for First Nations people of Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand
  • How we can design and ensure that cities are good for people

How do we create change in healthcare? Professor Catherine Crock AM believes it will be through kindness. On Monday morning Professor Crock will deliver the opening keynote address – Balancing science with humanity: how kindness restores the whole in medicine.

We are also excited to announce that the closing session will be a presentation of the healthcare play, Hear me, written by Alan Hopgood in collaboration with Professor Crock and Professor Rick Idema and others from the Australian Institute for Patient and Family Centred Care and produced by the Hush Foundation.

Hear Me deals with the aftermath of a young patient's death from the perspective of the patient's mother, the CEO, the supervising doctor and his colleague. Following the play, Professor Crock will facilitate a discussion examining the potential for improvement in the quality and safety of health care through communication, creating partnerships between patients, families and health professionals, and addressing staff culture. This powerful and innovative play examines all the complex issues that can arise when things go wrong in health care.

Register today

Computer-Based Testing update

The tender process to select a Computer-Based Testing (CBT) vendor will close on Monday, 9 March 2020. We have chosen to go to open tender to make sure we are aware of all the possible options in the market place and get a solution that best meets the needs of the College and its trainees.

We held an information session on Monday, 10 February 2020 so vendors could ask questions in an open forum and all questions and answers are available to all vendors through the Tenderlink website. This session has been very productive, and it is positive to see the different companies that have attended and the ideas they have for providing CBT.

Once the tender closes our final selection process will begin. This will include a detailed review of all submitted responses, with shortlisted vendors invited to demonstrate their product and visits to potential test centre sites.

Regular updates on CBT will be provided in the coming months. 

Join your College’s Gender Equity in Medicine Working Group

We are calling upon members to submit expressions of interest to our new Gender Equity in Medicine Working Group (GEMWG). The GEMWG is being established to develop an understanding of the gender equity issues and barriers experienced by Fellows and trainees and examine what our College can do to better support gender equity in medicine. This is a great opportunity to be involved in an important College initiative and we encourage you to apply today.

Apply now

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You won't want to miss Aotearoa New Zealand Trainees’ Day

Kia ora nau mai ki Tāhuna

You’re invited to one of the highlights on the RACP calendar, the Aotearoa New Zealand Trainees’ Day. Held on Saturday, 4 April at the Heritage Hotel, Queenstown the event covers a wide range of thought-provoking topics, while providing you with an excellent networking opportunity.

Whether you are a Basic or Advanced Trainee, paediatrics or adult medicine, this event will be relevant for wherever you are in your trainee journey.

You will:

  • learn seven simple things you can do for the health of Māori people with Dr Danny De Lore
  • be challenged to re-think healthcare by Dr Art Nahill
  • discover how to balance a creative career alongside medicine at Dr Renee Liang’s how to have it all session
  • be inspired in your unique training journey at the road less travelled panel discussion
  • connect with the wider Aotearoa NZ trainee community

For more topics and further details, view the program today.

Aotearoa New Zealand Trainees’ Day is supported as a recognised skills day by New Zealand District Health Boards and attendance costs are reimbursable. For more information email the RACP Aotearoa NZ team.

Register today

RACP continues to tackle overweight and obesity at a national level

The RACP has long been a vocal proponent of a nation-wide, coordinated, evidence-based and appropriately funded obesity strategy. In late 2019, the College welcomed a COAG consultation paper intended to inform such a strategy for the next decade and developed a submission offering the Australian governments recommendations on how to make this important document robust and useful.

Amongst the College’s recommendations, we asked for:

  • a well-defined scope for the strategy
  • a strong focus on systemic change, especially around food environments 
  • clear-cut separation of policy making from commercial interests
  • action-oriented language to enhance credibility and effectiveness of the strategy and
  • the commitment of adequate resources to implement key actions.

As part of the submission, we also offered to collaborate with the Australian governments and health and social policy bodies, such as other medical colleges and our partners in the Obesity Collective, on a national obesity treatment guideline to complement the preventative focus of the national strategy.

The importance of delivering well-designed treatment services for obesity cannot be overestimated. To  wit, a new systematic review published in the February issue of Paediatric Obesity shows that professionally administered paediatric weight management programs can lead to improvements in psychological wellbeing of children. These effects appear to derive from factors beyond weight loss, such as support of service providers and improvements in diet quality.

We expect that there will be many opportunities to contribute to the development of the national obesity strategy and related guidelines. We also continue to work with the Obesity Collective and other partners to build up the obesity evidence hub, support the Weight Issues Network that provides the voice for people affected by obesity and shift the national narrative from one of personal responsibility and stigma to one of collective responsibility and support.

We encourage interested members to participate in these activities; should you have any suggestions or comments on this subject, please email us at

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The Tri-Nation Alliance International Medical Symposium – Program released

Register for the Tri-Nation Alliance International Medical Symposium (IMS), on 'Providing care to underserved populations'The symposium will be held on Friday, 20 March 2020 at the Amora Hotel in Sydney.

The program has just been released, so check it out today.

This annual event is hosted by the Tri-Nation Alliance with member colleges from Canada, New Zealand and Australia. It provides a great opportunity for delegates to share the latest insights in higher medical education. You will gain global perspectives and insights into underserved populations in Australia, New Zealand and Canada due to isolation, geographical location or many other social determinants. The program will explore how best to train, prepare and retain medical specialists to care for these communities and how innovative technologies can enhance their access to healthcare.

Register today to hear about:

  • urban underserved populations in Canada and New Zealand
  • building a workforce for underserved populations in Australia
  • education and training to support access to care
  • meeting the challenges of practice for rural and underserved populations.

The member colleges of the Tri-Nation Alliance are 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 Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

Register today

End-of-Life Care Qstream course

Most Fellows and trainees will care for patients who may die within 12 months. The End-of-Life Care Qstream course enhances your skills with end-of-life and advance care planning discussions to assist you in looking after your patients. With 11 multiple choice questions framed within clinical scenarios, the cases are designed to encourage clinical thinking, self-reflection and prompt discussion.

Qstream is a novel, evidence-based form of online education that has been demonstrated in randomised trials to improve knowledge acquisition, boost retention, change on-the-job behaviours and improve patient outcomes. Q-stream disseminates case studies via email at spaced intervals. Each question takes just five minutes to complete. Enrol now to start the course in mid-March.

Enrol today

Release of the Medical Training Survey

The Medical Board of Australia has released the results from the first Medical Training Survey (MTS) of all doctors in training in Australia. Almost 10,000 doctors completed the survey. Survey results are publicly available at with individual reports for each medical college.

The survey was completed by approximately 15 per cent of RACP trainees (n=1333), and we welcome the results as an opportunity to identify further improvements to medical training.  The results align to and validate the findings of our own Physician Training Survey in 2018.

  • Almost 80 per cent of RACP trainees who responded to the MTS reported they would recommend their current training position to other doctors and their current workplace as a place to train.
  • Our trainees also rated the quality of clinical supervision and quality of teaching sessions highly with more than 84 per cent of responses in each category rated as excellent/good. 
  • Overall 94 per cent of RACP trainees intend to continue in their training program.

We are deeply concerned that many trainees reported they had experienced (20 per cent) or witnessed (29 per cent) bullying, harassment or discrimination in the past 12 months, including Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander trainees who are nearly twice as likely to have experienced and witnessed bullying, harassment and discrimination.

We have been working towards addressing this systemic issue through initiatives such as our statement on Respectful Behaviour in College Training Programs, Code of Conduct, RACP Support Program, Health and Wellbeing Strategy and the RACP Indigenous Strategic Framework which prioritises growing and supporting the Indigenous physician workforce.  There is still much work to be done.

Another concern is the 31 per cent of RACP trainee respondents who reported their workload as adversely affecting their wellbeing. Trainees also reported frequent unrostered overtime with only 35 per cent being paid for it. Our new training provider accreditation system promotes a stronger focus on wellbeing and appropriateness of workload and we will need to partner with health jurisdictions and other healthcare system stakeholders to promote industrial change.

We will report to the Australian Medical Council later this year on our plans and progress in response to the MTS results, as part of the accreditation requirements for our training programs.

Register now to boost your genomics knowledge

The Clinical Genomics for Physicians online course introduces physicians in Australia and New Zealand to the emerging field of clinical genomics. It aims to enable physicians to use genomics appropriately in their practice and engage with its evidence-based integration into the broader health system. It features video interviews with physicians already using genomics, interactive tools, quizzes and case studies.

The course covers:

  • human genome structure and function
  • genome sequencing and testing process
  • applications of genomic testing in healthcare
  • discussing genomic testing and results with patients and their families
  • ordering a genomic test or referring to genetics services
  • interpreting a genomic report
  • ethical, legal and social issues

RACP Online Learning Resources are free for RACP members and count towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements.

Register today

Adult Internal Medicine (AIM) DPE Forum

Date:             Thursday, 5 March 2020 10am to 4pm
Location:      RACP, Governor Macquarie Tower, Level 19, 1 Farrer Place, Sydney
RSVP:           Friday, 21 February 2020.

The Adult Internal Medicine Director of Physician Education (DPE) Forum is an opportunity for all Australian AIM DPEs to network, discuss issues related to Basic Training, hear directly from the Adult Internal Medicine Basic Training Committee and get updates on the RACP Education Renewal projects and how it impacts you and your settings.

An induction for all new DPEs will be held the day before the forum to equip you with everything you need in your new role. Dedicated Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP) workshops have also been scheduled around the forum.

Note: DPE induction, plus an optional SPDP1 workshop will be held Wednesday, 4 March. Optional SPDP2 and SPDP3 workshops will be held Friday, 6 March.

Register now

Webinar: Registering and uploading records to My Health Record

Wednesday, 4 March 2020 at 6pm (AEDT)

My Health Record is a secure online summary of an individual's health information available to all Australians. Healthcare providers authorised by their organisation can access My Health Record to view and add to their patients' health information. Understanding how to register and upload to My Health Record can be challenging. Join Professor Steven Boyages as he interviews Carey Doolan from the Australian Digital Health Agency who will provide practical advice to help you register and upload to My Health Record.

Upon registration, you will receive a confirmation email  about how to join the webinar.

Register now

Seeking Expressions of Interest for the AIHW Data Asset Steering Committee

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) is establishing a Data Asset Steering Committee (DASC) to guide the development and priorities of the National Primary Health Care Data Asset and an  Expressions of interest has been sent to the College looking for individuals to fill the 10 positions within the DASC as per the Position Statement.

Evolve case studies

Internal Medicine Society of Australia and New Zealand case study

Hugh is a 48 year old male plumber, ex-smoker with mild chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He takes Spiriva inhaler regularly and a Venotilin inhaler as required. For 10 days he has had a bad head cold with runny nose and sore throat, followed by a hacking cough and shortness of breath on exertion. Does Hugh have a viral/cough-induced costochronditis or does he have acute pulmonary thromboembolism (PTE) with clots passing to his lungs? Download the RACP Evolve | Choosing Wisely Australia | Internal Medicine Society of Australia & New Zealand case study to learn what investigations can be used for PTE.

Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases case study

Rosie is two and a half years old, born at term, immunised with no regular medications, and has started day-care recently. For 24 hours she has had a runny nose, a cough, is miserable and has no appetite. Rosie’s parents want her to take something to make her better soon. Download the RACP Evolve | Choosing Wisely Australia | Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases case study to find out the appropriate and inappropriate management options.

Internal Medicine Journal

The February 2020 issue of the Internal Medicine Journal (Vol 50 Issue 2) is now live on the RACP website and IMJ Wiley page.

Key highlights from the issue are:
  • Monogenic autoinflammatory disorders
  • Metastatic colorectal cancer treatment
  • Antibiotics in diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Post-stroke sleep disturbances and rehabilitation
  • TAFRO syndrome compared with Castleman disease
  • A rare case of turmeric induced hepatotoxicity.

The Editor's Choice is an Original Article titled Get with the guidelines – Management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in emergency departments in Europe and Australasia.

Read now

Pomegranate Podcast

Ep 55: Starting out in Private Practice

This podcast is about one of many pathways in medicine; private practice. It’s a pathway that presents many opportunities, but also personal and financial challenges. When doctors are starting out in private practice they typically do so within the safety net of an established practice, and perhaps only for part of the working week. In a simple model, they would be renting a room in exchange for an agreed portion of the consultation fees, to cover administration costs.

The next level of complexity is setting up shop for oneself, and this requires registering a company in order to employ other staff. Finally, one can partner in a group practice, which may bring efficiencies of scale, but potentially also personality clashes with other shareholders.

And behind all of this, there is the need to build awareness and trust in the community.  In this podcast we hear from the experience a private rheumatologist of 25 years, as well as accounting and financial planning.

RACP Fellows can claim CPD credits via MyCPD for listening to this episode of Pomegranate Podcast. 

Do you want to be kept up-to-date with the latest podcasts? Subscribe to Pomegranate Health in Apple iTunes, Spotify or any Android podcasting app.

Access now

Get involved

We are currently accepting applications to the podcast editorial group for 2020. Participation is by email and earns CPD credits for the development of an educational resource. Non-members of the RACP will also be considered. 

Learn more

Upcoming events

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