The President's Message – 2 December 2020

This month marked a major milestone for our College. We’ve successfully delivered a new Adult Medicine Divisional Clinical Exam format in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. We’re running the exam by teleconference for the first time. The pandemic has thrown a spanner in the works for our usual tried and tested format of face-to-face exams at hospitals with paper scoresheets. Many of us are unhappy about this departure from the holy grail – however there is opportunity in a crisis and we have committed to seeing our trainees progress in their journey to Fellowship.

This year we have been able to run face-to-face exams for Paediatrics & Child Health trainees in Aotearoa New Zealand, because they had a small number of candidates. For the other 1,200 candidates, we had to rapidly come up with new remote formats and digital scoresheets, then achieve relevant training committee agreement to proceed. There’s been a massive effort behind the scenes by College staff to ensure IT and telephony systems worked.

A cross-College staff team has been on standby every exam day, including weekends to assist with calls in case candidates, examiners, or patients have any issues. Messaging and planning for many different contingencies had to be ready. The whole process had to work for many candidates at different locations across two countries, multiple jurisdictions and several time zones. It has done so.

We even managed to rapidly move to an ‘at home’ format for candidates in South Australia needing to sit the exam under lockdown. With any complex operation like this there are bound to be issues from time to time, but we’re managing to resolve them as the examinations progress. Remote examinations will continue for some until March next year. Already they’re proof the College can adapt to uncertain, rapidly changing circumstances. As always, we wish all our exam candidates the very best.

A reminder to trainees and DPEs, please also take the time to complete the RACP Physician Training Survey. Your participation gives us valuable feedback on what’s working, and what needs to change. The welfare of our trainees is critically important. At any time during your training, if there are issues you wish to report in good faith, we have confidential channels you can use.

We expect collegial and professional conduct from all our members, regardless of their seniority or position, trainee or Fellow. You’ll find more details about the support and advice we can provide on our website. Remember, this is your College too.

The work of the RACP involves the input of many different groups. I’d like to recognise the efforts of one set of stakeholders in particular – the specialty societies. There are over 50 specialty societies affiliated with our College across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. They span the full range of specialist knowledge embodied by the RACP.

I’m pleased to hear that a number of our specialty societies are contributing clinical updates to our RACP Congress 2021. It will be delivered in a hybrid format in 2021 – another first for our College. I encourage you to visit the RACP Congress 2021 website and register for one of the face-to-face locations, or for the virtual program. Either way you’ll access six days’ worth of stimulating sessions that you can watch live, or at your leisure over a six-month period.

Professor John Wilson AM
RACP President

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RACP Foundation update

Last chance for 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. Submit your application for the 2021 Indigenous Health Scholarships before the closing date Monday, 7 December 2020.

Apply for the 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 RACP Congress 2021 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 Monday, 1 February 2021.

Find out more

RACP Congress 2020 Online Learning Series – Available online until 18 December

RACP Congress 2020 has been the first entirely digital RACP Congress, free for members. It's provided valuable learning opportunities and the option to earn CPD credits at a time and place that suits you. It has enabled members to connect in new ways through webinars, livestreams and podcasts. All sessions of the free RACP Congress 2020 Online Digital Series are available on the Congress Online Learning platform until Friday, 18 December 2020.

Watch RACP President John Wilson's closing message as he thanks those involved in yet another successful RACP Congress.

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RACP Congress 2021: It's never been easier for you to attend

Following on from the success of this year's Congress, RACP Congress 2021 has arrived in a hybrid format. The event will be spread over six days in six cities, while also being live-streamed and recorded. It has never been easier for you to attend. The convenient combination of in-person networking opportunities alongside the ability to revisit talks for six months after the event allows everyone to experience Congress regardless of busy schedules or geographic locations.

Under the theme of 'Transformation: Adapting for the future', the program promises to deliver some fascinating insights on what we have learned, both from successes and failures. Topics and discussions will explore the ways we can adapt and excel under continually changing circumstances. Please note: Due to the current social distancing requirements, the in-person events will have strictly limited numbers, so secure your place early.

Read the program


Abstract submissions for RACP Congress 2021 open now

The call for abstracts for RACP Congress 2021 recently opened and we've been impressed with the high quality submissions we've already received but, it's not too late to submit yours. If you haven't submitted your abstract for consideration, please do so before the closing date, Wednesday, 23 December 2020. Find out more about categories and the process today to get started.

Find out more

What's your other passion? Art in Medicine

From grape growing, to pottery, to playing an instrument, to dancing like nobody’s watching – passion and art combined can expand minds and possibilities. It provides moments of reflection that creates space for breakthrough and understanding. With that in mind, as part of RACP Congress 2021, attendees are being invited again, to engage us with your passions in our Art in Medicine showcase.

Get involved

RACP Medflix is here

Access our extensive collection of powerful and engaging educational videos all in one place. Browse the Medflix video library for videos covering a range of clinical and professional topics, including the VicFEAT and Continuing Education series, as well as all of the videos from our online courses.

Access now

New online course: Chronic breathlessness in advanced illness

Equip yourself with the knowledge you need to better identify, assess and manage chronic breathlessness in advanced illness through our new online course. Watch this video from the online course which explores something many of us find challenging: answering sensitively and truthfully when a patient wants to know how they’re going to die.


Final days: RACP 2020 Physician Training Survey closing soon

Add your perspective  

Thank you to everyone who has participated in the 2020 Physician Training Survey. Highly valuable feedback has been received so far. We are keeping the survey open a little longer to allow more trainees and educators time to share their perspective during this busy period.

We use trainee and educator feedback to guide improvements to training environments. To protect respondent anonymity, we only communicate results when we meet response volume thresholds. The more responses we get, the more data we can use to promote positive change.

The anonymous survey can be completed via the personalised link in the email eligible participants received on Monday, 30 November 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.

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Seeking Evolve case study volunteers for online learning course

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. 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.

We have approval to turn some of our case studies into an RACP Q-stream. Q-streams are an interactive learning platform, which disseminates case studies via email at spaced intervals. To support this, we are seeking enthusiastic Fellows and trainees to lead the development of case studies.

Outlined below is a list of Evolve recommendations we think would be appropriate. If you would like to be involved, email Gemma Altinger, Program Implementation Lead at to receive more information on the case study development process.



Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine(AFRM)

Recommendation 3: Do not use Mini Mental State Examination as the only tool to assess cognitive deficit in acquired brain injury.

Geriatric medicine (ANZSGM)

Recommendation 1: Do not use antipsychotics as the first choice to treat behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.

Recommendation 2: Do not prescribe benzodiazepines or other sedative-hypnotics to older adults as first choice for insomnia, agitation or delirium.

Recommendation 4: Do not prescribe medication without conducting a drug regimen review or IMSANZ Recommendation 1: Avoid medication-related harm in older patients (>65 years) receiving five or more regularly used medicines by performing a complete medication review and deprescribing whenever appropriate or combined.

Addiction medicine (AChAM)

Recommendation 1: Do not undertake elective withdrawal management in the absence of a post-withdrawal treatment plan agreed with the patient that addresses their substance use and related health issues.

Recommendation 3: Do not deprescribe or stop opioid treatment in a patient with concurrent chronic pain and opioid dependence without considering the impact on morbidity and mortality from discontinuation of opioid medications.

Occupational and environmental medicine (AFOEM)

Recommendation 2: Do not request X-rays or other imaging for acute non-specific low back pain, unless there are red flags or other clinical reasons to suspect serious spinal pathology.

Immunology and allergy (ASCIA)

Recommendation 1: Do not use antihistamines to treat anaphylaxis – prompt administration of adrenaline (epinephrine) is the only treatment for anaphylaxis.

Neurologists (ANZAN)

Recommendation 1: Do not perform imaging of the carotid arteries for simple faints

Recommendation 5: Do not routinely recommend surgery for a narrowing carotid artery (>50 per cent stenosis) that has not caused symptoms.

Dermatological Society (NZDS)

Recommendation 5: Do not routinely use topical antibiotics on a surgical wound.

Paediatrics (PCHD)

Recommendation 3: Do not routinely order chest X-rays for the diagnosis of asthma in children.

Recommendation 5: Do not routinely order abdominal X-rays for the diagnosis of non-specific abdominal pain in children.

Sexual health medicine (AChSHM)

Recommendation 5: Do not prescribe testosterone therapy to older men except in confirmed cases of hypogonadism.


Advocacy on the Liquor Amendment Bill results in stronger regulation of online purchase of alcohol in NSW

The NSW Liquor Amendment Bill has been debated and amended in both houses of Parliament and will now return to the Assembly to pass into law.

Same-day alcohol delivery companies will need to verify age online as a result of strong public health advocacy, under the leadership of the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Advocacy (FARE). This means companies will no longer be allowed to provide a ‘tick the box’ option or manual date of birth entry but will have to properly verify a proof-of-age document. This is a huge step towards ensuring alcohol is not sold to children.

It should be stressed that there is still no requirement for any age checks for deliveries that are not same-day. We know late night deliveries and rapid deliveries within two hours increase the risk of hidden harms in the home. This is an area of sales and delivery regulation the College will continue to advocate for in NSW and other states and territories.

Read more

CareSearch launches national Part of Life campaign

CareSearch has launched its national Part of Life campaign to increase community awareness of palliative care and encourage all Australians to learn, care and plan for death and dying. A part of the National Palliative Care Strategy, the campaign identifies six guiding principles to help Australians work towards providing quality palliative care to everyone in the community. The principles indicate that death is a part of life, palliative care is person-centred, accessible and evidence-based and that carers are valued and everyone has a role to play. The campaign aims to support health professionals through easy access to quality information and to lift community literacy as a way to encourage advance planning.

The Part of Life Project includes a public relations campaign, social media activities and regularly updated resource pages, as well as multicultural podcasts and an annual Dying2Learn massive open online course.

Read more

Antimicrobial Stewardship Clinical Care Standard

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has released the revised Antimicrobial Stewardship Clinical Care Standard, which has been endorsed by the RACP. The Standard was first published in 2014 and revised in 2020.  It is used by health service organisations as part of their antimicrobial stewardship programs, as required by the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards. The Standard has eight quality statements and a set of indicators.

Share your views on climate change and health

You are invited to participate in two surveys on climate change and health. The first survey is aimed at members practising with adult patients and the second survey at members practising with paediatric patients. See further details below.

Climate and Health Alliance survey

This survey is run by the Climate and Health Alliance in collaboration with Monash University and open to all RACP Adult Medicine Division and Chapter members and members of the Faculties of Public Health Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Medicine and Rehabilitation Medicine based in Australia.

The survey is being sent to health professionals across Australia and is assessing their:

  • views on climate change as a human health issue
  • willingness and ability to communicate the health impacts of climate change.

We encourage you to participate in the survey – regardless of the focus of your work – because your participation will help us understand our members' needs and interests in this area. The survey is confidential, administered online, and open until 12pm (AEDT) on Thursday, 17 December 2020. The survey should take approximately 25 minutes to complete. If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the Climate and Health Alliance at

Complete survey

George Mason University and World Health Organisation survey

This survey is run by George Mason University in collaboration with the World Health Organisation and the Global Climate and Health Alliance and open to all RACP Paediatrics & Child Health Division and Chapter members and paediatric members of the Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine based in Australia.

The survey is being sent to health professionals in numerous countries to assess their:

  • views on climate change as a human health issue
  • awareness of and support for the international #HealthyRecovery initiative.

The survey is confidential, administered online, and open until 12pm (AEDT) Thursday, 17 December 2020. The survey is short and should take approximately 10 minutes to complete. If you have any questions, please contact the RACP Policy & Advocacy team

Complete survey

Pomegranate Podcast: A new script for global public health

podcast ep65In episode 65, we present some provocative solutions to problems presented in the previous two stories. We heard about pharmaceutical patents and how embedded intellectual property law is in global trade relations. There’s a fundamental assumption that innovation occurs thanks to the vigour of the private sector and the plucky entrepreneur. It’s even been said that financialised capitalism is "the greatest engine of progress ever seen".

But the reality is that shiny smartphones and targeted drugs wouldn’t exist without massive government spending on research. It’s public money that funds the riskiest stages of development, before private enterprise takes these products to market with the benefit of monopoly pricing. Dr Owain Williams and Associate Professor Peter Hill argue that states can demand more control over the outputs and pricing of drug and vaccine research and that the current intellectual property regime is not the only way to stimulate innovation.

In the second part of this episode, Associate Professor Adam Kamradt-Scott talks about the lessons learned and not learned from pandemic modelling in past years. He also makes the case for establishing an Australian Centre for Disease Control with standalone jurisdiction, to cut through some of the conflict we’ve seen in recent months between state and federal leaders.


Dr Owain Williams (University of Leeds)
Associate Professor Peter Hill AFPHM (University of Queensland)
Associate Professor Adam Kamradt-Scott (University of Sydney, United States Studies Centre)

Claim CPD credits

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.

Listen now

Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health

The early view of the December 2020 Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health is now available. One of the highlights is a viewpoint article, Adaptive innovations to provide services to children with developmental disabilities during the COVID‐19 pandemic.

Other key highlights include:

  • Predictors of hospital readmission in infants less than three months old
  • Eating disorders double and acute respiratory infections tumble in hospitalised children during the 2020 COVID shutdown on the Gold Coast
  • Diagnosis and management of paediatric Clostridioides difficile infection in a tertiary centre: A prospective audit
  • Factors related to passing the safety fast test among neonates with hypoglycemia in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Read now 

Internal Medicine Journal

The November 2020 issue of the Internal Medicine Journal is now live. This month’s Editor's Choice is an original article titled 'Goals of care conversations and documentation in patients triggering medical emergency team calls' by Telena Kerkham and Matthew Brain.

Other key highlights include:

  • Early detection of drug induced lung disease
  • Cannabis: are there any benefits?
  • Dose modification for haematological toxicity
  • Testicular cancer: ethnic disparities in New Zealand
  • Epoprostenol in management of pulmonary arterial hypertension
  • Direct oral anticoagulants for atrial fibrillation.

Read now

Contribute to assessing Overseas Trained Physicians

The Aotearoa New Zealand Overseas Trained Physicians Assessment Committee seeks Adult Medicine and Paediatric Fellows for four vacant positions. The Committee advises the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) and plays a key role in establishing which physicians can work in Aotearoa New Zealand. Committee members can have a real impact on the delivery and quality of care provided in their health system. Fellows living in Aotearoa New Zealand are encouraged to apply for the positions we have available, two in Adult Medicine and two in Paediatrics.

Learn more

Introducing our new online Heritage Centre

To celebrate our College’s rich history, we have developed a Heritage Centre on the website. The ‘Our heritage’ webpage brings together the revamped College Roll, the first release of a College timeline and the History of Medicine Library.

College Roll

The College Roll celebrates the stories and achievements of our inspiring Fellows. We encourage retired and Life Fellows, aged 70 years or older, to share your story. We also accept biography or obituary submissions on behalf of deceased Fellows. We encourage everyone to visit the College Roll and read about the achievements of our esteemed physicians, their stories and their impact on medicine, communities and patients.

College timeline

Discover the history of the College through the new College timeline. Vision, dedication and passion — explore the College’s history over the years, the evolution of medicine and the role of our physicians. Can you add to our timeline? We encourage members to submit a timeline entry that you think is of significance.

History of Medicine Library

Our History of Medicine Library, located at our head office in Sydney, has a leading collection of medical history items from Australasia and around the world. The College established the Library in 1938 as a clinical library. The focus of the library changed to medical history in the mid-1950s. The Library continues to grow through the contributions of our College members. The Library holds over 30,000 medical history items. While the library is currently closed due to COVID-19 you can browse the Library’s catalogue online.

Visit the Heritage Centre

New member benefit: discounted Microsoft Surface devices and accessories

ASI Solutions has created an exclusive portal for our Australian members to purchase Microsoft Surface devices and accessories at group discount pricing. Log in to MYRACP and click through to the ASI portal. You will need to set up an account with ASI Solutions to access the offer. If you have any questions please contact ASI Solutions.

Why Surface?

The business range of Surface devices is uniquely placed to support you in your everyday work and professional learning. Coupled with your choice of the right software and cloud services to meet your unique needs, the beautifully-engineered Surface devices deliver secure access to information and allow deep communication and collaboration wherever you are. 

Please note the RACP is publishing this offer as a service to members. Such publication does not constitute endorsement. 

*Offers only available to current RACP members that are Australian residents. ASI Solutions respects your privacy. Please read their online Privacy Statement

RACP Support Program

The RACP Support Program is a fully confidential and independent help line available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is free for Fellows and trainees.

The RACP places the utmost importance on the wellbeing of its members. It can be difficult to balance the pressures of the workplace, interactions with colleagues and personal relationships. If you are having a hard time, we encourage you to contact Converge to organise a free session.

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