South Australia - April 2016

A message from the South Australia State Committee Chair

This Newsletter is a welcome opportunity to keep you up-to-date on what is happening in the South Australia (SA). This information has been tailored especially for you, the members in our region, covering our issues and our events.
The South Australia State Committee has had a busy year and the pace has certainly increased since the beginning of 2016. I will not reiterate all of the concerns regarding ‘Transforming Health’, however, the President of the College Laureate Professor Nicholas Talley and I have met with South Australia Minister for Health Jack Snelling to discuss our concerns. I have been in discussion with the Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons about the downgrading of Modbury Hospital. We have been particularly concerned about implications for trainees and have been assured repeatedly that training positions will not be substantially affected, though there will certainly be some re-organisation. We have also been liaising with Minister Snelling regarding the potential closure of the Centre for Disability Health SA.

The RACP has been introducing governance changes and established the RACP Council in 2015. The State Committees Working Group, formed by the Council, has met three times since 2015 and will be meeting for the last time in April 2016 to review the final recommendations report to the Board on the function of these Committees. 

I have been a member of the South Australia State Committee for six years and Chair for the last four; sadly I must stand down in May this year. The RACP is a vital part of the medical community – apart from our role as the educators we have been at the forefront of policy and advocacy on climate change and refugee health to name the two most high profile issues.  

A member organisation such as the RACP is only as good as its members. I have enjoyed my time as Chair of the South Australia State Committee enormously, as well as my other roles within the RACP and the Australasian Faculty of Environmental Medicine (AFOEM). I have gained a great deal more than I put in as a result. The RACP is a wonderful organisation and I urge you all to become more involved. 

Dr Robin Chase
Chair, SA State Committee

Advocating for the continuation of the Centre for Disability Health SA

The Centre for Disability Health in SA is a state-wide primary health care service for people registered with disability services or Disability SA.

In November 2015, the SA Government commenced consultation on the potential closure of the Centre.

SA Committee Chair, Dr Robin Chase, along with RACP President, Laureate Professor Nicholas Talley met with the SA Minister for Health, Hon Jack Snelling, to raise concerns on behalf of all SA physicians regarding this change.

The SA Committee and the Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine strongly oppose the proposed closure as this highly specialised care is not available in mainstream services and the closure would result in a critical health service gap for vulnerable patients.

Dr Peter Anastassiadis represented the SA Committee at a December 2015 meeting held jointly with the Australian Medical Association SA and then Disabilities Minister, Hon. Tony Piccolo who offered a further ‘physician specific’ meeting.

Since that time Tony Piccolo has resigned the Disabilities portfolio and the Committee is seeking a meeting with the current Minister, Hon. Leesa Vlahos.

The South Australian Trainees’ Committee

Supporting South Australian trainees at significant transition points in their training is the focus of the SA State Trainees’ Committee this year. 

In February we welcomed new trainees to the College and provided them with survival skills for their first year of training. 

The Examination Preparation Panel evening, to be held in April, will give trainees the opportunity to hear from and quiz fellow trainees who have completed exams about approaches to preparing for the written exam and devising study plans.

In July, the Lecture Series weekend will provide an introduction to the basic sciences knowledge required for the written exam including immunology, genetics, infectious diseases and Associate Professor Sepehr Shakib will again take trainees through the design (pharmacology) and testing (statistics) of his now infamous drug ‘Sepheranib’. 

The Advanced Training Forum is a new initiative for this year and will aim to provide trainees with some key skills for Advanced Training, including research, teaching and leadership. 

Also new this year is the Fellowship Forum, which aims to assist trainees in their transition to consultancy with sessions on practice management, overseas fellowships and PhDs to name a few. 

In addition to these locally run events, Trainees’ Day,  an ancillary event of RACP Congress will be held in Adelaide on Sunday, 15 May. With the theme of ‘Survive and thrive’, session at the event will included the mental health of doctors, mindfulness, bullying in the profession and leadership as well as streams specific to different training groups. Trainees’ Day is an excellent opportunity to step away from the books and the wards and focus on your professional development.

Physician careers in the spotlight at expo

In February, seven medical Colleges, Australian Medical Placements and the Australian Medical Association joined forces to hold a careers expo providing medical students, interns and registrars vital information on career pathways as they continue their medical journey.

Australian Medical Placement took the lead with event organisation, promotion and responsibility for registration. Each medical college supported the event by sourcing sponsorship for refreshments and catering to ensure a cost neutral experience, both for the Colleges and attendees. 

Each College gave an overview of their training pathways with Dr Charmaine Gray, Paediatrics & Child Health Trainee Committee Chair and Basic Trainee in Adult Medicine, Dr Nikki Burdett presenting for the RACP. 

Rehabilitation Physician Dr Farima Forooziya and SA Member Services Offices Liz Kennedy also attended the event and responded to questions from the enthusiastic crowd of attendees.

The Colleges represented at the event were:

  • Australasian College for Emergency Medicine
  • Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists
  • Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine
  • Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
  • Royal Australian College of Surgeons 
  • The Royal Australasian College of Physicians
  • The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists

A message from the SA Communicable Disease Control Board - guide to notifying patients who have established RHD

As you may be aware, rheumatic fever (RF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) have recently been declared notifiable conditions in South Australia under the South Australian Public Health Act 2011. Notification of these conditions will help to improve the health of our community through enabling public health action, with the goal of reducing the burden of RHD in South Australia.

While notification to the Communicable Disease Control Branch (CDCB) under the public health legislation is mandatory, consent from the patient will still be required to enrol people on the South Australian Rheumatic Heart Disease Register, as this is a clinical management tool.

All new cases of RF and RHD must be notified to the CDCB within three days of suspecting or confirming a diagnosis. Call 1300 232 272 or complete as much of the attached form as possible and fax to 08 8226 7187.

We appreciate that you may see patients who have established RHO. In these cases:

  • if your patient is already enrolled on the SA RHD Register with an existing diagnosis, you will not need to notify SA Health; and
  • if your patient is not on the SA RHD Register, or if you are unsure, you are required to notify this diagnosis of RHD to SA Health.

To contact the SA RHD Register: email or call 08 7425 7146 during business hours.

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