The President's Message – 30 October 2020
Our College doesn’t exist in isolation. We’re an active member of the healthcare community in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. We have strong relationships with our peer Colleges, allied organisations, national and state Governments, and regulators in both nations.
Let’s start right at the top. If you want an indication of how we influence, advise and help formulate policy at the highest levels – have a look at our recent Online Town Hall with Australian Federal Health Minister, Hon Greg Hunt. The Minister spent just over half an hour talking with us and answering members questions, and he has now invited direct input from us on several issues. We had 260 members videoconference into the meeting, and it was a highly engaging session.
When we speak, Governments and government departments listen. We now make close to two hundred policy submissions every year on a wide range of issues. And we get results. The expansion of telehealth items in Australia for use by our members was a direct outcome of our discussions with health policy decision makers.
We maintain close links with peer Colleges in Australia and New Zealand, and in Commonwealth countries and territories overseas. I attended the Hong Kong College of physicians this week to take part in their scientific meeting. We are one of 15 specialist medical Colleges in Australia who are members of the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges.
I meet four times a year with my President peers and more often when circumstances warrant – as they have for much of this year because of COVID. It’s an invaluable opportunity to learn what is happening across our organisations and share successes and challenges.
We also work closely with the Australian Medical Association (AMA), the New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA), the Salaried Medical Specialists, the Australian Association of Consultant Physicians (AACP) and other medical organisations. We all share areas of common interest such as doctor’s health and wellbeing. But as many of you will appreciate, organisations like the AMA and NZMA also have a focus on industrial issues that we do not. Our constitution and status as a not-for-profit means we focus primarily on training and medical education.
Two other vitally important stakeholders are our training regulators – the Australian Medical Council and New Zealand Medical Council. While they both ultimately set the rules, our relationship is an open and constructive partnership. The regulators listen to our views and advice on regulatory settings and new initiatives, and we work closely together.
The healthcare community is complex and many tiered. But we work closely with many different stakeholders, representing our interests and those of our patients, to serve the health of our people.
Professor John Wilson AM
Wishing all the best to the Paediatrics & Child Health (PCH) candidates in Aotearoa New Zealand who start their Divisional Clinical Exam (DCE) today. We know this has been a year unlike any other and we thank you for the commitment you’ve shown your work and training.
The exam for PCH candidates in Aotearoa New Zealand will be run using the traditional face-to-face method from tomorrow until 8 November 2020.
Read more about the DCE
Applications for the 2021 Divisional Written Exam (DWE) open next Thursday, 5 November 2020. If you’re eligible to sit the exam, you’ll receive an email on opening day with details on how to apply. The exam information, previously known as the Instructions to Candidates, is now available. The 2021 exam will be a paper-based exam held on Monday, 15 February.
A second DWE will be held using computer-based-testing in October 2021. It will be offered in limited locations with only a small number of candidates to ensure CBT can be fully tested before wider rollout. The criteria to sit the October 2021 DWE via CBT exam is currently being finalised. If you plan to sit the Divisional Clinical Examinations in 2021, you need to sit the February 2021 DWE offering.
The College Education Committee (CEC) has made the difficult decision that the video-conferencing aspect of the virtual Long Cases is not ready for the upcoming Divisional Clinical Exams. We have run successful trials of the exam and the video-conference technology but we need more time to continue testing and finessing the video-conferencing solution before it can be used.
The CEC has therefore decided that we will change the exam delivery method but maintain the same dates for Adult Medicine (AMD) candidates and keep the video-conference delivery but postpone the start date briefly for Paediatrics & Child Health (PCH).
AMD candidates in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand
AMD candidates across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand will now change from using video-conferencing to using phone calls for their exam. This applies to all interactions – examiner to patient, candidate to patient and candidate to examiners. With over 900 AMD candidates this year and reduced hospital capacity to run the exam, we cannot delay the AMD exam any further.
The AMD Clinical Exam Committee and examiners who have been involved in phone trials are confident that the quality of the exam will still be robust over the phone and that we can still start on Saturday, 14 November 2020 in Australia and Saturday, 21 November 2020 in Aotearoa New Zealand.
All other aspects of the exam will continue as planned. The phone model will apply to the entire 2020 exam cohort, with the intent to move to video-conferencing for the 2021 exam after more work on the video-conferencing methodology.
PCH candidates in Australia
The PCH Clinical Exam Committee is keen to continue with video-conferencing as they prefer that candidates are able to visually see both the child and parent/guardian. There is also a smaller number of candidates so the risks of time, hospital capacity and supporting a large number of candidates using video-technology per exam day are not as high as they are for AMD.
The exam start date for PCH will now be delayed until Friday, 4 December 2020 to give us additional time to test the video-conferencing solution. We will start providing notifications of PCH exam date allocations from Monday, 9 November.
Please note, this does not affect Paediatrics candidates in Aotearoa New Zealand who will continue to sit the exam under the traditional face-to-face format from Friday, 30 October 2020. All exam candidates, DPEs and examiners have also been notified.
Candidates will still be assessed based on meeting the expected standard for progressing to Advanced Training, not on how they perform in comparison to other candidates. We are aware of the differences between delivering the exam by phone, video-conference and face-to-face. As a result, we have adapted the Criteria for Assessment of Performance for each of the different models.
Thank you to everyone who has volunteered or provided advice on the exam so far. It has always been our commitment to ensure that the new modular exam format is as robust as possible before exams start.
You're invited to an RACP Online Congress webinar, Support of Adults with Disabilities, on Monday, 9 November 2020. Many adult physicians are involved with treating and supporting patients living with disabilities. They can sometimes feel ill equipped in handling these often complex and challenging situations. This session will help clinicians better understand and appropriately respond to the needs of patients living with disabilities.
Register for an engaging webinar that will present on the particular opportunities and challenges for the medical application of artificial intelligence (AI), and review the main AI methods in the medical context. Dr Olivier Salvado and Associate Professor Clair Sullivan will deliver an interactive program that highlights the current challenges that hinder AI deployment into clinics.
The amount of medical data available is fast increasing and AI technologies are well suited for screening, diagnosis, prognosis, preventing errors
, and improving the productivity of our health system. So why is the deployment of AI technologies in healthcare lagging?
RACP Indigenous Health Scholarships 2021
We appreciate 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 2021 Indigenous Health Scholarships. Closing date Monday, 7 December.
RACP President's Indigenous Congress Prize
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 2021 RACP Congress to gain educational and networking opportunities and exposure to career pathways within the College.
Applications for 2021 open 1 November 2020. Please encourage anyone you know who is eligible to apply before the deadline on Friday, 31 January 2021.
As part of the Accreditation Renewal initiative, RACP will be introducing the new Training Provider Standards and accreditation requirements in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand effective from 1 January 2021. The new Training Provider Standards and Adult Internal Medicine and Paediatrics & Child Health Basic Training Accreditation Requirements are available on the RACP website.
Please note that changes to the programs and requirements only impact Training Settings involved in Basic Training. If you would like more information, please email the RACP accreditation team.
As part of the ongoing campaign to reduce the many harms of alcohol, the RACP has produced an advocacy resource on minimum unit pricing for alcohol. Minimum unit pricing sets a floor price below which a fixed volume of alcohol cannot be sold to the public. It is designed to increase the price of the cheapest alcohol; since heavier alcohol users typically consume cheaper products, the policy effectively targets price increases at heavier users. As the heavy use of the cheap, high-alcohol products drives health inequalities, minimum unit pricing is also likely to be an effective mechanism for reducing these inequalities.
The new information sheet on minimum unit pricing shows there is a robust evidence base supporting its effectiveness at reducing alcohol consumption and harm. Growing evidence from Scotland, Russia and the Northern Territory has shown that minimum unit pricing can be effective across diverse settings. The success of the RACP-supported (reference 1, reference 2) measure in the NT, recently corroborated by an independent evaluation, further underlines its appeal to other jurisdictions in Australia.
The handy information sheet is being launched in support of the College’s Queensland election statement. It will be used to bolster a continuing push to introduce MUP in all Australian jurisdictions. We also urge members to use the resource in their own advocacy efforts.
We understand you’re busy and on-the-go. That’s why our online courses are designed to enable you to dip in and out, or just do the parts that are relevant to you. Developed by members, for members, the interactive nature of our online courses enables you to learn from your peers.
Covering important professional and clinical topics, such as ethics, cultural competence, communication skills, genomics, quality and safety and more, RACP Online Learning Resources are free for members and count towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements.
The RACP Ethics Committee are pleased to advise members of a new RACP Clinical Ethics resources webpage. The new webpage provides a set of clinical ethics resources for Fellows and trainees. The clinical ethics resources webpage will assist with reflection on the role clinical ethics plays in practice and healthcare settings.
The new webpage includes clinical ethics information for:
- professional development
- trainee education
- clinical ethics services
- academic studies
- research and Fellowships
- other clinical ethics related resources.
RACP Fellows and trainees are encouraged to visit the new webpage and consider clinical ethics as part of their education and continued professional development. The webpage provides information about clinical ethics support services, and access to clinical ethics information.
Two new Medical Specialist Access Framework case studies have been released – ANTAC and the Ngangkaṟi Healers of Central Australia and Regional specialist services in the Kimberley.
The Medical Specialist Access Framework is a guide for health sector stakeholders to promote and support equitable access to specialist care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The case studies demonstrate successful approaches to increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander access to specialist care across Australia in various health settings.
RACP members are encouraged to read the framework, case studies and the Guide for Physicians to implement these tools in your workplace and professional practice. Please share these useful tools with your networks.
Te Hui ā-Ataata mō te Waiora o ngā Tauira Mahi
The RACP Trainees' Wellbeing Webinar held on 15 October was very well received, with 170 trainees and Fellows from Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia registering for the event. Over 65 per cent of those registered people attended, But for those who missed out, please see the video recording below. We thank the Aotearoa New Zealand Trainee' Committee and RACP team who pulled off a fantastic event.
Don’t miss out on completing your Physician Training Survey.
Thank you to everyone who has participated in the 2020 Physician Training Survey so far. We urge all trainees and educators to complete this important survey as soon as possible. The survey will close on Wednesday, 2 December 2020.
So far, six per cent of trainees and five per cent of educators have responded. Given the changes to training this year it’s so important you have your say. Your feedback about your experiences of our training programs help us better understand the environment at each training setting. The more responses, the more data we have to make changes and improvements.
The anonymous survey can be completed via the link in the personalised email or text message eligible participants received on Thursday, 22 October 2020. If you didn’t receive this link or would like it resent, please contact Engine. For information about the survey, including confidentiality and how you could win an iPad, please visit the Physician Training Survey webpage.
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 early view of the October 2020 issue of the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health is now available. One of the highlights is the original article, Relationship between patient understanding and timeliness of penicillin prophylaxis in rheumatic heart disease prevention programs in American Samoa.
Other key highlights include:
- Minimising Immunisation Pain of childhood vaccines: The MIP pilot study
- Sustaining routine childhood immunisations during COVID‐19 in Africa
- Myocardial ischaemia associated with tetrahydrocannabinol intake in a teenage boy: A case report
- Barriers to influenza vaccination of children hospitalised for acute respiratory illness: A cross‐sectional survey
- Fake news and fake research: Why meta‐research matters more than ever.
The October 2020 issue of the Internal Medicine Journal is now live. This month’s Editor's Choice is a clinical perspectives piece titled Deprescribing long-term opioid therapy in patients with chronic pain.
Other key highlights include:
- overview of healthcare improvement
- consensus on opioid deprescribing
- nursing follow-up of stroke patients
- cardiac electronic devices in public vs private hospitals
- death, dying and donation
- challenges of artificial intelligence in medicine.
Ep63: the WHO’s biggest test
During the COVID-19 crisis, there has been some criticism of the World Health Organisation (WHO) about not declaring a pandemic soon enough, or if it covered up for China’s failings. But few commentators have explained the role and responsibilities the WHO shares with its member states when dealing with a pandemic. A prototype of the International Health Regulations (IHR) were conceived during the cholera epidemics of the mid 1800s, and but the most current version of the IHR was formalised in 2005 in response to SARS. Associate Professor Adam Kamradt-Scott has documented the political and social factors that have accompanied the implementation of the IHR. In this podcast we consider how the unprecedented scale of the current pandemic and the mixed response from member states has challenged the viability of the WHO.
RACP Fellows can claim CPD credits via MyCPD for listening to this episode and reading the resources available on the webpage. To be the first to find out about the latest Pomegranate Health episodes, subscribe today in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, any Android podcasting app. You can also join our email alerts list to remain updated with future podcasts.
Member Advantage has partnered with HCF, Australia’s most-trusted health fund*, to provide you with cover you can count on. They’re not your typical health fund – they genuinely want you to get great value cover. That’s why you’ll also receive $100 cash back for singles or $200 for family/couples, when you join hospital & extras cover before 30 November 2020, and stay for three months.
As a Member Advantage corporate member, you’ll have access to exclusive products with more benefits compared to their standard HCF cover:
- discounted premiums
- pay less for hospital cover
- higher extras limits
- loyalty rewards program.
Want help with your quote? Their local team of award-winning health insurance experts are ready to chat. Call 1800 880 049 or visit your RACP Member Advantage website.
Terms and conditions apply. Please visit their website for details
*Roy Morgan Net Trust Survey 2018 and 2019
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