The President's Message – 11 June 2020


Hi, I’m John Wilson, President of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. While we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the many positives we’ve seen is the rapid uptake of new telehealth services across our medical communities. Using telemedicine, we have given our patients the best possible access to care in these trying times.

We recently sent out a telehealth survey to practising Australian-based members. Gratifyingly, nearly 1,000 of you responded within the first week. I want to thank all of you who did so. You helped us understand how we are using telehealth, identifying the incentives and barriers to care, thereby recommending sound improvements to our healthcare system.

More than 90 per cent of you who responded have used telephone consults. Almost two thirds have used videoconferencing. You told us that swift uptake of this opportunity has been to support and stop the spread of COVID for your patients and their families, as well as yourself and your staff.

The majority of you said you’ve seen an increase in accessibility to healthcare for your patients. You said more patients were actually keeping their appointments. You have told us that telehealth has particularly helped those who find it a challenge to attend appointments in person. This includes those with mobility issues, disadvantaged families, immune-suppressed patients, those living in rural and remote areas and particularly, Indigenous patients who feel more culturally safe attending appointments in their own environment.

Your responses have also allowed us to make many recommendations to improve and extend the life of telehealth as it evolves. This includes making it part of the foundation of future health reforms to increase access for those with chronic and complex needs. I urge you to read the report and the survey findings available on our website. We will be shortly surveying our Aotearoa colleagues on their experience in using telehealth.

On another topic, we’re continuing  to work on our Online Congress. We have a growing program and the digital format means many more of us will be able to take part this year. What do you think the world will look like after Covid? On Monday, 22 June I’ll be chairing our live-stream of Healthy Futures, Healthy Cities, part of the RACP Congress. Our esteemed panel will talk about urban density and design of cities that are good for people and our health.

Our roles are so important in creating the future. Particularly in relation to climate change, ageing, digital technology, and of course, in the middle of this viral pandemic. Details of this and other sessions are available at the Congress website.

Thank you very much for listening.

Professor John Wilson AM
RACP President


The 2020 Queen's Birthday Honours

Congratulations to the RACP Fellows recognised in the 2020 Queen's Birthday Honours. These awards highlight the outstanding work RACP members do and the importance of that work in local, national and international communities.

The New Zealand Order of Merit

To be Dame Companion of the said Order
  • Distinguished Professor Jane Elizabeth Harding ONZM FRACP of Auckland.
    For services to neonatology and perinatology.
To be Knight Companion of the said Order
  • Professor Robert Bartlett Elliott CNZM FRACP of Auckland.
    For services to medical research.
To be Officers of the said Order
  • Dr Garry Vernon Forgeson FRACP of Feilding.
    For services to oncology.
  • Dr Janet Catherine Turnbull FAChPM FRACP of Porirua.
    For services to health.

Australia

Officer (AO) in the General Division
  • Professor Graeme Laurence Barnes FRACP
    For distinguished service to medicine, particularly to child gastrointestinal health, and to medical research.

  • Emeritus Professor Suzanne Mary Crowe AM FRACP
    For distinguished service to health and aged care administration, to clinical governance, biomedical research, and to education.

  • Professor Georgina Venetia Long FRACP
    For distinguished service to medicine, particularly to melanoma clinical and translational research, and to professional medical societies.

  • Emeritus Professor Ronald Kim Oates AM FRACP
    For distinguished service to paediatric medicine, as an advocate for child health and welfare, to medical education, and to professional societies.

  • Professor George Arthur Werther FRACP
    For distinguished service to medicine, to paediatric endocrinology and research, and to professional medical organisations.

  • Professor Ingrid Margaret Winship FRACP
    For distinguished service to medicine, particularly to clinical genetics and research, to cancer prevention, and as a role model and mentor.
Member (AM) in the General Division
  • Professor Barbara Jane Bain FRACP
    For significant service to medicine, and to medical education, particularly to haematology.

  • Dr Gabrielle Afifee Cehic FRACP
    For significant service to medicine, to nuclear oncology, and to professional medical groups.

  • Professor Susan Lesley Forster FAFPHM
    For significant service to tertiary education, to rural public health, and to medical administration.

  • Clinical Professor Phoebe Joy Ho FRACP
    For significant service to medical research, to haematology, and to professional bodies.

  • Dr Douglas William Lording FRACP
    For significant service to medicine, to endocrinology and andrology, and to the community.

  • Professor Philip Leo Patrick Morris FAChAM
    For significant service to psychiatry, to medical education, and to professional health organisations.

  • Emeritus Professor Roger James Pepperell FRACP
    For significant service to medical education, particularly to obstetrics and gynaecology.

  • Professor Andrew Warwick Roberts FRACP
    For significant service to medical research, to haematology, and to cancer organisations.

  • Professor Susan Margaret Sawyer FRACP
    For significant service to tertiary education, to adolescent health, and to international groups.

  • Professor Ranjeny Thomas FRACP
    For significant service to medical education and research, and to rheumatology.
Medal (OAM) in the General Division
  • Dr Walter Patrick Leopold Abhayaratna FRACP
    For service to medicine in the Australian Capital Territory.

  • Dr David Robert Bell FRACP
    For service to medicine, and to professional organisations.

  • Dr Joseph Ken Montarello FRACP
    For service to medicine, particularly to cardiology.

Update on postponed Faculty exams

We have recently announced the planned months for the rescheduled 2020 AFPHM, AFOEM and AFRM exams.

These are the earliest possible months to hold the exams and they are dependent on the ongoing improvement of the COVID-19 situation. These dates are subject to change should the situation change. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and will ensure all trainees receive at least three months' notice of the exam dates once they are confirmed. 

For any questions about the Faculty exams, please contact Faculty.Examinations@racp.edu.au

Exam

Cohort

Planned month

AFPHM Oral Examination (no supplementary exam)

2020 (Those who would have been eligible to sit in October 2020)

March 2021

AFPHM Oral Examination (including supplementary exam)

2021 (Those eligible to sit in October 2021, and unsuccessful March 2021 candidates who wish to re-sit in October)

October 2021

AFRM Fellowship Written Examination
(General Rehabilitation)

2020 and 2021

February 2021

AFRM Fellowship Written Examination (Paediatrics)

2020 and 2021

February 2021

AFRM Fellowship Clinical Examination
(General Rehabilitation)

2020 and 2021

May 2021

AFRM Fellowship Clinical Examination (Paediatrics)

2020 and 2021

May 2021

AFRM Module 1 Written Assessment
(General Rehabilitation)

2020 and 2021

May 2021

AFRM Module 2 Clinical Assessment
(General Rehabilitation)

2020 and 2021

June 2021

AFOEM Stage A Written Examination

2020 and 2021

Second half of 2021

AFOEM Stage B Written Examination

2020 and 2021

Second half of 2021

AFOEM Stage B Practical Examination

2020 and 2021

Second half of 2021


 

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Congress 2020: Healthy Futures, Healthy Cities

A multidisciplinary discussion on urban futures and the role physicians can play to ensure positive health outcomes. 

Session date: Monday, 22 June 2020
Webinar time: 12pm to 1pm (AEST) 
Register: Register online – free for RACP members

Urban density, once seen as a blight is now viewed as a necessary feature of existence. Climate change, pandemics, viral infections, digital existence, ageing, complexity, vulnerability and loneliness are new health issues we have to deal with. How can we, as physicians ensure that future cities lead to better, healthier lives? The role of design for health in cities will be crucial. 

Join our speakers for this highly interactive, multidisciplinary live webinar:

  • Professor Tony Capon, Director, Monash University Sustainable Development Unit
  • Clinical Professor Meredith Makeham, Chief Medical Advisor, Australian Digital Health Agency
  • Dr Lucy Gunn, Research Fellow, RMIT University, Centre for Urban Research
  • Professor Jo Douglass – James Stewart Professor of Medicine in the University of Melbourne Department of Medicine and Director of Research at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
  • Session Chair: RACP President, Professor John Wilson AM, Head, CF Service, Alfred Health.

This session is made possible through the sponsorship of our major partner the Australian Digital Health Agency.

Register now


The Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP)

The Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP) is a high-quality training program for final year Advanced Trainees and Fellows who supervise trainees. Have you done one of our SPDP workshops and successfully applied the skills you learnt in practice? Complete our Online Facilitation Course and become a facilitator today!

Find out more


Australian Pre-Budget Submission – call for further member input

In December 2019, the College, with the help of member feedback developed an Australian 2020-2021 Pre-Budget Submission. As the Australian Federal Budget will now be delayed to October 2020, there is an opportunity to update this document considering the COVID-19 pandemic. Members are invited to revisit the submission and email any suggestions for new/amended/updated policy recommendations needed because of COVID-19 to racpconsult@racp.edu.au by close of business Friday, 19 June 2020.


Supporting the health of people with disability during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Commonwealth Department of Health has prepared a range of fact sheets for health professionals regarding supporting the health of people with disability during the COVID-19 pandemic. In her capacity as President of the Australian Association of Disability Medicine, President-elect Jacki Small was part of the advisory committee that developed the resources and now continues to meet to oversee the implementation of the plan.

The fact sheets complement the recently released Management and Operational Plan for People with Disability and associated resources.


Cancer care in the time of COVID-19: A conceptual framework for the management of cancer during a pandemic

Cancer Australia has developed a new resource to support the optimal management of cancer during a pandemic. ‘Cancer care in the time of COVID-19: A conceptual framework for the management of cancer during a pandemic’ explores approaches to cancer management in the different scenarios of the COVID-19 curves. The framework outlines the best-practice principles for cancer care during a pandemic to support the ongoing delivery of consistent, safe, high-quality and evidence-based care for people with cancer, from prevention and early detection through to survivorship and end-of-life care.

Find out more.


Focus on harmful substance use a crucial part of recovery from the pandemic

A wave of alcohol and drug harm might be gathering just beneath the horizon of COVID-19 related stress and isolation. Professor Nick Lintzeris, President of the Chapter of Addiction Medicine, has recently reported anecdotal evidence of an increase in people developing harmful alcohol and drug use patterns, with the pandemic expected to have a direct impact on the scale and severity of substance use problems in the foreseeable future.

While substance use problems occur in all socio-economic and cultural settings, there are two groups that demand concerted attention of physicians right now. The first group includes people already struggling with dependence whose access to treatment has been limited because of technology, privacy, or physical safety concerns. The second are those whose worries about jobs, health and relationships loss may have tipped them into harmful or dependent use during the pandemic. Ensuring that these groups get effective and timely help, be it via telehealth or as is increasingly possible, in person will be key to minimising substance use problems among the exposed populations.

The effect of social isolation and recession on problematic substance use and the attendant social and economic losses will not be known fully for some time to come. Substance use disorders cost Australia greatly in productivity and human potential at the best of times – the return of a healthy economy depends on a healthy population. Increased physician support via screening, referral and treatment targeted at the vulnerable substance users is an integral part of Australia’s recovery from the crisis.

Foundation_EDM headers_2020_F

RACP Foundation update

Applications for research funding closes soon

Are you an established researcher or are you establishing your medical research career? Don’t miss your chance to apply for funding for 2021 under the following award categories:

Other opportunities are also available in the Research Entry Scholarships, Research Development Scholarships and Travel Grants categories. Upwards of 50 awards with a total value of $2.5M are available to Fellows and trainees of the College across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand across these different award categories in this round.

Please refer to the RACP Foundation website for information on specific eligibility requirements for each award.


Eric Susman Prize nominations

The Eric Susman Prize is awarded annually to recognise a Fellow for their achievements and contribution to the field of internal medicine (adult medicine and paediatrics) in the areas of research, teaching and/or clinical medicine. Nominations are open from Monday, 15 June to Friday, 31 August 2020.

Find out more


Howard Williams Medal nominations

Do you have a colleague who deserves to be recognised for their achievements and contribution to improving the health of children and young people in Australia or Aotearoa New Zealand? Nominate them for the Howard Williams Medal. The Medal is awarded to a selected Fellow by the College each year at RACP Congress, where the recipient is given the opportunity to give an oration regarding their contribution. Nominations are open from Monday, 15 June to Monday, 10 August 2020.

Find out more


Trainee Research Awards proceeding in 2020

Applications for Trainee Research Awards open from Wednesday, 1 July to Monday, 31 August 2020. Trainees and New Fellows undertaking post-Fellowship training are encouraged to apply.

The Trainee Research Awards provide a wonderful opportunity for trainees to present their research at an Australian regional or Aotearoa New Zealand RACP event. The best presenters from each local event will be invited to be part of the 2021 RACP Congress Program.

Please send your abstract submissions or inquiries by email to your respective regional RACP offices.

Find out more


Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health

The June 2020 issue of the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health is available now. 

Key highlights from the issue are:

  • Microbiome in health and disease
  • Prevalence, hospital admissions and costs of child chronic conditions: A population-based study
  • Faecal calprotection levels during the first year of life in healthy children
  • Semi-automatic intraosseous device (EZ-10) in a paediatric emergency department
  • Tumour necrosis factor‐α and myoglobin associated with the recovery time of coronary artery lesions in Kawasaki disease patients.
Read now

The effect of COVID-19 on physical activity and stress levels in medical doctors

We have been asked to support a research project being undertaken by the University of Melbourne, Australia in conjunction with Lincoln University, Aotearoa New Zealand who are undertaking an online research survey to measure the physical activity and stress levels of medical doctors in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia during the COVID lockdown and how these levels change as the lockdown is removed. 

Read more about this research project and complete the survey, which takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.

Complete the survey

Time-out with Flourish magazine

The latest edition of Flourish magazine, an online health and wellbeing eMagazine is available. Flourish is brought to you by the RACP Support Program partners, Converge International. Converge International manages our free 24/7 support hotline for members and staff.

Articles this month include:

  • Mental fitness
  • The science of compassion
  • A patient’s account of being diagnosed with bowel cancer
  • the Three R’s of financial fitness.

Read now


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