The President's Message – 26 November 2021
Many of you have been living the pressures and effects of COVID firsthand on the medical frontlines.
But you may have wondered what your peers think about issues like access to vaccination or booster shots for healthcare workers.
What about the effects of the Delta strain on their health and wellbeing?
I want to draw your attention to the results of a major Australian survey we’ve just released.
We’re highlighting this to our Aotearoa New Zealand colleagues as well, as it may be an interesting point of comparison.
Our 'Are you COVID-19 safe?' survey was open in late September and early October.
We had 812 individual responses, and here are some of the highlights.
In Australia both adult medicine physicians and paediatricians had very high vaccination rates; 98 per cent were double vaccinated.
There is also 87 per cent support for healthcare workers to be prioritised for a booster vaccination.
Not surprisingly the Delta variant has significantly increased workload for employed practitioners.
It’s also increased use of telehealth, increased patient cases and hours, and increased administrative time.
Reported fatigue and burnout has spiked, and trainees in the public hospital system have been affected as well.
Responders told us they need greater support from the health service organisations that employ them.
This all comes on top of other stressors on the healthcare system that need urgent address – which has been delayed by COVID-19.
We’ve already argued a strong case for you to get better access to and guidance on PPE.
But you’re telling us that needs to further improve – both for private physicians and for employed physicians and paediatricians.
There’s also support for continued access to Australian MBS telehealth items.
We’ve advocated proactively and successfully on this issue, with Minister Hunt confirming the retention of permanent specialist items at our recent Town Hall meeting.
You also told us you want our College, as clinical leaders to be a source of clear evidence-based information to members, the public and the decision-makers.
We’ve heard you – and that’s exactly what we’ll continue to do.
Our key areas of focus are physician health and wellbeing, workforce and trainee development and the ongoing reform of the healthcare system.
We’ve already committed to working with Minister Hunt on these critical issues at our recent member event.
You’ll find the full survey report attached to this message
In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any further suggestions.
Thank you for watching.
Professor John Wilson AM
Safe training environments: addressing bullying, harassment and discrimination
Many are aware of ongoing reports from our members which indicate bullying, harassment, discrimination and uncivil behaviours are significant issues within medicine. Hostile interactions in training and work environments lead to psychological stress, inhibit learning and negatively impact safe patient care.
The RACP ethos holds that respect and care for patients and colleagues is of the utmost importance.
The RACP has an unambiguous responsibility to lead, promote and educate members in delivering safe patient care and facilitating positive learning environments.
In response to these reports, the Safe Training Environments Summit on 5 November 2021 brought together members of the College Education Committee, College Trainees’ Committee and invited guests to collaborate and agree on a strategic approach to tackling bullying, harassment and discrimination in training environments. Dr Sally Langley, President of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, presented on their approach to dealing with bullying, harassment and discrimination in surgical training programs. Summit participants worked together to explore the root causes of these issues and prioritised key strategic areas for the RACP to take action. In the coming months, the College will be developing and sharing with you a strategic action plan to support this important work.
Physicians have a critical leadership role in setting the tone and behaviour of healthcare teams to foster respectful behaviour and attitudes. We call on you to be involved – we all need to work together to improve the culture of medicine.
RACP Congress 2022 registration now open
RACP Congress 2022, A Climate for Change, will be taking place both in-person and virtually, in Melbourne and Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland from 12 to 14 May 2022.
This three day event will explore the current drivers of change and what specialists can do to promote lasting positive changes.
Register before 31 December to secure your discounted early-bird ticket.
Visit the RACP Congress website to explore the program and register to attend.
'Climate Change and Australia’s Healthcare Systems – a Review of Literature, Policy and Practice' launch event
On 30 November, the College will launch the climate change and health research report: Climate Change and Australia’s Healthcare Systems – a Review of Literature, Policy and Practice. We commissioned the Monash Sustainable Development Institute to complete the report which looks at the risks of climate change to Australian healthcare systems and how best to manage these risks. The report comprises a rapid literature review, policy and institutional analysis, economic analysis and a series of compelling case studies which illustrate the breadth and complexity of climate impacts to health systems.
The report is the culmination of a significant stakeholder collaboration, led by the College’s Policy and Advocacy team, which brought together 10 medical colleges who have contributed expertise to the project.
The online launch comprises an online webinar with live speakers from the UK and Australia including: Professor Tony Capon FAFPHM, Director Monash Sustainable Development Institute; Dr Catherine Pendrey, General Practitioner; Dr Richard Smith, Chair UK Health Alliance on Climate Change and former Editor and Chief Executive of the British Medical Journal; Dr Nick Watts, Chief Sustainability Officer NHS England and NHS Improvement; and Professor Lynne Madden, Chair, Climate Change and Health Research Project Advisory Committee.
When: 6pm AEDT / 8pm NZDT Tuesday 30 November 2021
Physicians of the future, health system of the future
A highly successful virtual town hall event was held on 10 November 2021. Hosted by the RACP President, Professor John Wilson AM, it was organised at the request of our special guest, the Minister for Health and Aged Care, The Hon. Greg Hunt MP. At the outset, the Minister expressed his thanks to physicians for their critical role throughout the pandemic in providing both treatment to patients and clinical guidance as the government acted to contain COVID-19.
The theme, Physicians of the future, health system of the future, was addressed by the Minister who outlined the government’s vision of digital health and beyond, Professor Tim Shaw, Professor of eHealth at the University of Sydney and Director of a Cooperative Research Centre with a strong relationship with the College, and College Dean, Professor Andrew Coats. This is the second College event to host Minister Hunt who responded to member questions on telehealth, integrated care, research funding, post-COVID-19 health system recovery and others. Importantly, Minister Hunt spoke to his next priorities and expressed his intention to work with the College on physician mental health and wellbeing, hospitals in the home and integrated care, workforce and trainee support, and early intervention and preventive health.
A video recording of the meeting will be available on Medflix
Australian state and territory communities now open in the ROC
This week the Australian state and territory communities opened in the ROC (RACP Online Community).
The ROC now has 20 communities open, including:
- Open Forum
- Adult Medicine Division Community
- Paediatrics & Child Health Community
- Aotearoa New Zealand Community
- Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine Community
- Australasian Chapter of Palliative Medicine Community
- Australasian Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine Community
- Chapter of Community Child Health Community
- Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (AFOEM) Community
- Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine (AFPHM) Community
- Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine (AFRM) Community
- Northern Territory Community
- New South Wales / Australian Capital Territory Community
- Queensland Community
- South Australia Community
- Western Australia Community
- Trainees' Community
- Overseas Trained Physicians Community
It's yours, so make it your own
The ROC is your private, secure place to network, engage and connect in real time. It's available exclusively to RACP members and Overseas Trained Physicians (OTPs). To help you get started, please watch this brief instructional video.
The ROC is yours to:
- ask questions and start discussions with each other in an easy to access online forum
- find other members and connect with them
- expand your professional networks across the membership, or within your specialty, state or territory, Division, Faculty or Chapter
- keep up-to-date with College announcements
- find out about the latest events, updates and resources
- be informed via a weekly digest email on Thursdays, or opt out if you prefer.
Become a mentor
We’re excited to announce Mentor Match is now open via the ROC. Mentoring is a mutually beneficial relationship between two people with the goal of professional and personal development.
We invite you share your knowledge, expertise and advice with other members by registering as a mentor. Watch this short video to see how easy it is to participate.
Once we have 100 registered mentors, we’ll invite members to register as mentees.
Access the ROC
Download the ROC app from the App Store or Google Play, or log in via MyRACP.
RACP Quarterly Issue Three 2021
RACP Quarterly is our member magazine featuring healthcare and medical news.
We’ve gone digital – welcome to our third online edition.
In this issue we announce the launch of the ROC (RACP online community), our new online member community platform designed to service the needs of our members.
We also discuss using electronic health data to strengthen CPD for medical practitioners and speak to Professor Louise Baur AM FAHMS FRACP about tackling the obesity crisis at home and abroad.
Other highlights include building cultural safety into clinical practice and COVID-19 and the role of science and leadership.
Also in this issue we showcase our members in the media and shine the spotlight on physician advocacy.
Read RACP Quarterly Issue Three 2021 online now
Access previous issues of RACP Quarterly on the RACP website.
The RACP Indigenous Health Scholarships 2022
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 2022 Indigenous Health Scholarships. The closing date is Tuesday, 30 November 2021.
The RACP President's Indigenous Congress Prize is open to medical students, junior medical officers and RACP trainees who identify as Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander or Māori. The selected applicant will receive support to attend the RACP Congress 2022 to gain educational and networking opportunities and exposure to career pathways within the College. Please encourage anyone you know who is eligible to apply before the deadline on Friday, 31 January 2022.
The Australian and New Zealand Association of Neurologists (ANZAN) is offering an annual Scholarship that provides support to a RACP Advanced Trainee who identifies as Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander or Māori and is undertaking the Advanced Training Program in Neurology. Applications close Tuesday, 30 November 2021.
For further information on all of these opportunities please see the Indigenous Scholarships & Prizes webpage.
Episode 75: Feeling Guilty – Medical Injury Part 2
In the last episode we talked about what patients or their families want to hear after a iatrogenic injury. Despite best practice standards for open disclosure, this occurs far less often than it should. The reluctance from health practitioners to be more transparent is in part due to a misplaced fear of exposure to liability, but perhaps the greatest barrier to incident disclosure is the culture of medicine itself. The historic tropes of the infallible physician and the heroic surgeon are still strong today. Though team-based practice has become the norm, many doctors find it hard to admit to a mistake, not just to patients and colleagues but even to themselves. This podcast explores the guilt that can come about from having caused harm, and the cognitive dissonance this creates in one’s professional identity as a healer.
- Associate Professor Stuart Lane FCICM (Nepean Hospital; FMH lead for Education, University of Sydney)
- Professor Simon Willcock FRACGP (Program Head of Primary Care and Wellbeing at Macquarie University; Clinical Program Head of Primary and Generalist Care, Wellbeing and Diagnostics at MQ Health)
Written and produced by Mic Cavazzini DPhil. Music licenced from Epidemic Sound includes ‘Far Away from Home’ by John Glossner, ‘Illusory Motion’ by Gavin Luke, ‘Heart of the River of the Sun’ by Lama House and ‘Struck By You’ by Seroa. Music courtesy of Free Music Archive includes ‘Harbor’ by Kai Engel. Image licensed from Getty Images. Additional voiceovers by Michael Pooley.
Visit the RACP website for a transcript and supporting references. Fellows of the College can claim CPD credits for listening to the podcast and reading supporting resources.
Subscribe to email alerts or search for ‘Pomegranate Health’ in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Castbox or any podcasting app. Fellows of the RACP can claim CPD credits for listening and learning via MyCPD.
Supervisor Professional Development Program workshops
The Australian Medical Council (AMC) accreditation standards require the RACP to have training in place for all supervisors of trainees (note the standards apply in both Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand).
The RACP Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP) was developed to provide this training and has been rolled out in face-to-face workshops, online and more recently virtually through Zoom workshops.
The College Education Committee (CEC) recently determined that completion of SPDP workshops can be supported as sites go through their accreditation cycle. So, although the main message is that SPDP should be completed by the end of 2022, there may be some instances where this date changes in alignment with accreditation.
To be an RACP approved supervisor:
- All DPEs, Advanced Training (AT) Supervisors and Education Supervisors are required to complete SPDP 3 by the end of 2022.
- All DPEs, AT Supervisors and Education Supervisors are required to complete (or be exempt from) SPDP 1 and 2 by the end of 2022 or in-line with their site accreditation cycle (whichever occurs later).
- Rotational Supervisors (RS) are only required to complete SPDP 3 (non-member RS are encouraged to complete SPDP 3 but there is no requirement).
After completing one SPDP workshop and prior to achieving Approved status, supervisors will be referred to as Provisionally Approved.
These recommendations by the CEC provide a clear timeline, pathway to completion and ultimately the CEC will determine a consequence for active supervisors should they fail to complete the program.
We encourage you to complete your workshops as soon as possible, particularly if you haven't started.
To date, adolescent and young adult medicine and geriatric medicine have the highest percentage SPDP completion rates across the College.
We offer SPDP workshops face-to-face, virtually or online and in any order. Available workshops can be found on the SPDP registration page.
If you would like to organise a workshop for your setting or local area, please advise the Supervisor Learning Support Team by email email@example.com or contact your local Member Support Officer (MSO).
You may be eligible for an exemption from SPDP 1 and 2. To apply please click ‘Apply’, under the ‘Exemptions’ tab on the SPDP webpage.
If you do not meet the exemption criteria, the outcome of your application will be determined by either the Adult Medicine Division Education Committee or the Paediatrics Division Education Committee.
If you have any questions about the information above or need assistance, please contact the Supervisor Learning Support Team on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Policy & Advocacy Report
The past 12 months of the COVID-19 pandemic have brought markedly increased challenges and demands for you, our members, many of whom have important leadership roles in both health policy and clinical care. These demands have impacted many of us, yet there remains valued support and engagement in the College’s policy and advocacy activities.
The College Policy & Advocacy Council’s (CPAC) 'Policy & Advocacy Report' (P&A Report) is an annual report to highlight and showcase the main policy and advocacy activities of the College over the last 12 months.
The P&A Report is used to promote the great work of CPAC and each of the representational College bodies on CPAC (a full list of members can be viewed on the Committee webpage).
About the P&A Report:
- Published on the College website it is available to all RACP members.
- The Report is used to promote the College’s advocacy work in health policy to our external stakeholders.
Through the CPAC we connect across the College, engaging with and supporting specialty and region led activities. Member engagement is critical to the success of our policy and advocacy work and we aim to build on this success. Through you, we strengthen the College’s reputation as one of the leaders for health policy advice to government and other stakeholders.
To read the P&A Report please visit the CPAC News and Communique webpage.
Health Benefits of Good Work™ Webinar – register now
The Health Benefits of Good Work™ Signatory Steering Group (SSG) together with AFOEM Fellows will run a webinar on COVID-19 and returning to the office. This session will be of particular interest to employers trying to keep their employees and clientele safe as restrictions are eased.
Chair: Keith Govias
Speakers: Associate Professor Margie Danchin, Dr Warren Harrex and Lindsay Carroll.
We will examine:
- the medical perspective on vaccines
- the view of workers and employer associations
- how to apply vaccinations and the Health Benefits of Good Work™ to your risk control planning
- communication and consultation with workers and members of the community.
The webinar will take place on Tuesday, 30 November.
Selection into training assessment pilot: What are the attributes of a good physician?
Selection into Basic Training can be highly competitive. We are collaborating with five paediatric and child health training networks and an external test provider to pilot whether a pre-interview assessment tool can help to ensure the most suited applicants proceed in the selection process for Basic Training.
The pilot will trial the use of an online test called 'Casper', a test to measure a candidate's ability to reflect on and communicate responses to interpersonal and professional dilemmas, in-line with the attributes outlined in the RACP selection criteria and professional practice framework.
We are seeking input from a broad range of people who interact with physicians and paediatricians on the types of behaviours that represent good professional practice from physician and paediatrician trainees. Although the settings involved in the pilot are all within paediatric and child health training networks the outcomes of the pilot will be evaluated to determine if the tool is fit for purpose for use in the RACP context more broadly, including in adult internal medicine and Aotearoa New Zealand.
Therefore, we are also seeking input from members involved in Adult Medicine Training Programs.
Complete this short survey
to have your say on the types of behaviours that represent high-quality professional practice by physicians and paediatricians. This short video
will guide you through what to expect from the survey. Responses are anonymous and are open until mid-December 2021.
Share the survey
with your physician and non-physician colleagues and patients to help us gain perspectives from a broad range of people in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.
Your insights will be used to align the test with the context and performance expectations for RACP Basic Trainees.
The pilot will be run with applicants for Basic Training at participating pilot settings in mid-2022. More information is available on the RACP website
An online repository for resourceful physicians
Would you like to share educational resources with other RACP members? Access 'The Resourceful Physician', a repository on the RACP Online Learning platform which enables you to share links to external resources, tools, courses or readings with your peers. Submit your recommended resources, browse member submissions or suggest a topic for a resource you want developed.
Accessible anywhere and optimised for mobile on-the-go learning, RACP Online Learning is free for members and counts towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements.
Join the Working Group: Providing Healthcare to Patients with Cognitive Disability
Expressions of interest are being sought from RACP members and subject matter experts to join a working group to develop a new online learning resource on providing healthcare to patients with cognitive disability. The resource is being developed in response to the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. It will address recommendations to improve the education and training of health professionals in relation to people with cognitive disability.
Find out more and apply by Monday, 13 December 2021.
The November 2021 issue of the Internal Medicine Journal is now live on the RACP website (login using RACP login credentials). You can now access full journal issues as PDFs using the link to the digital editions on this page. This month’s Editor's Choice is titled 'Integrated electronic health record facilitates a safer and more efficient rural outreach haematology service'.
Other highlights from the issue are:
- Spirituality curricula in medical education
- Insomnia disorders
- Industry payments to oncologists and haematologists
- Knowledge of research ethics guidelines in public health clinicians
- Diabetic retinopathy in Indigenous Australians
- Oromandibular parafunction in chronic graft disease versus host disease
The November edition of the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health – 'Effects of climate change on children' is now live on the Wiley Online Library website.
Read other RACP eBulletins: