Tasmania — April 2018

A message from the Tasmanian State Committee Chair

The Tasmanian Regional Committee is instrumental in delivering College policy, events, awards and programs to Fellows and trainees based in Tasmania. It is also an important point of contact for local Fellows and trainees to engage with and receive support from the College.

The Committee via its role in education, policy and advocacy, specialty society groups and research provides input on issues of national health relevance through the national College body. The Committee offers a voice to the local members in the advocacy to government, health departments, and other stakeholders on issues affecting our members.

This newsletter provides us with a great opportunity to keep you, the members in Tasmania up to date on the College activities taking place locally. The information provided in the newsletter is tailored especially for our local members, covering our issues and our events.

I would like to encourage anyone who may be interested in getting involved in the Tasmanian Regional Committee to do so through the current election and expression of interest process (outlined below). Or if you would just like to provide suggestions or feedback to the committee you can email us at tas@racp.edu.au

The next edition of our newsletter is due for publication in August and we are always looking for relevant content. If you have something you would like to contribute, or a service or member you would like to nominate to be the feature for the Tasmanian spotlight section, please click here to let us know.  


Associate Professor Robyn Wallace
Chair, Tasmanian State Committee

Tasmanian spotlight — focus on members and services Dr Rajesh Raj

Dr Rajesh Raj is a nephrologist at Launceston General Hospital,  current member of the Tasmanian State Committee and the College Council Tasmanian representative. Dr Raj (pictured right) wrote the article below on the renal support care clinic ​his team established.

In 2011, we started a renal supportive care clinic at the Launceston General Hospital, staffed by a nephrologist, dialysis education nurse and renal social worker. We started this service in response to the growing number of patients who choose to have conservative, non-dialytic treatment for their advanced renal failure. It is estimated that one in seven Australian patients with end-stage renal failure opt for this pathway. Ours was one of the first units in the country to offer supportive care services within the Department of Nephrology.

We aim to provide supportive rather than curative care. Those with chronic renal failure welcome our patient-centric approach. Family is encouraged to attend. We have had nearly 700 consultations with about 60 separate patients so far at this weekly clinic.

Currently, we attend to patients from ​three main streams: those who have chosen the conservative pathway; dialysis patients with unremitting symptoms/requiring assistance with advance care planning; and finally, patients and families who are conflicted about decisions around the management of end-stage kidney disease.

In addition to usual renal care, we provide targeted symptom management; help with advance care planning, and assistance with social needs. Patients who cannot travel are seen via video-consultations. We liaise with inpatient and community-based palliative care services as needed.

Since this is a nascent area in nephrology practice, we attach great importance to collecting data, especially patient-reported outcome measures. We have published our work in journals and conferences nationally and internationally. The high incidence of kidney disease in Tasmania and our ageing population both mean that the demand for renal supportive services is likely to increase. We hope to become one of the premier centres for renal supportive care in the country. We believe that our multi-disciplinary clinic model can be adapted to provide supportive care for patients with chronic illnesses of other organ systems as well.

          Dr Rajesh Raj spotlight
Pictured above, left to right: Dr Rajesh Raj, Bridget Brown (CKD Nurse) and Rokhsar Hussain (Renal Social Worker). 

Vale Dr Andrew D.S. Gibson — BMedSci, MB BS, MMedicalHum, Dr Andrew GibsonFRACGP, FAFOEM — 19 October 1957-12 August 2017

The world of Occupational Medicine in Australia has sadly lost one of its favourite sons.

The dry, but nonetheless impressive version of Andrew’s career relates to his extensive ADF experience as a Medical Officer in all three services for ten years from 1986-1996; Defence Force recruiting 2006-2012 and an ADF Civilian Medical Officer from 2013.

Andrew graduated from the University of Tasmania in 1983 and worked as an Intern at Launceston General Hospital.

He became a Fellow of the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, RACP in 1994, having previously been a Fellow of the Australasian College from 1990, and a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners from 1991. He also became an active Member of the Australia and New Zealand Society of Occupational Medicine (ANZSOM).

He was both ​specialist and vocationally registered, a great combination of clinical and occupational skills. He was self-employed and worked as an occupational physician from 1997 onwards, in both Sydney and the Hunter Valley. He contracted to Health for Industry, Hunter Industrial Medicine and Defence Force Recruiting.

In 2013 he returned to Launceston and he became a FIFO physician to the mainland states, but maintained his career love as a Civilian Medical Officer for the ADF.

However for Andrew, and Terrill his partner, the last decade of life threw them many challenges, to which they both responded with great dignity, courage and enthusiasm. Andrew became a determined ‘patient’.

In this tribute, his partner Terrill Riley-Gibson is able to give us a much warmer description of Andrew the man, and their wonderful life together.

Election advocacy

In the lead up to the ​recent Tasmanian election, the RACP Tasmanian Regional Committee released an election statement advocating for development of evidence-based health policies shaped by clinical expertise and experience.

The statement outlined policy priorities the incoming government should address to ensure the healthcare system operates at a world-class level and delivers the health outcomes needed by current and future generations.

In the days leading up to the election the Liberal and Labor Party leaders ​sent the RACP a formal response. You can view the Premier’s letter and Opposition Leader’s letter on our website.

2018 RACP Tasmanian Conference

An all-day conference for Tasmanian members is being organised by the Tasmanian ​Regional Committee​.

The Conference will include The RACP Trainee Research Awards for Excellence, T C Butler & F R T Stevens Prize and other sessions relevant to Tasmanian members. It will also offer RACP members a great opportunity to network with other members and keep abreast of current research and information.

The event is expected to be held in September or October. Please keep an eye out for more information on this in the coming months via this newsletter and on the RACP events website.

Your trainee committee - Victorian Tasmanian Trainees Committee

The Victorian Tasmanian Trainees Committee (VTTC) is a forum for Victorian and Tasmanian Basic and Advanced trainees. The VTTC advocates for Victorian and Tasmanian trainees at the state and national levels in a number of domains including training, assessment, education, promoting research, professional development and workforce. It also advocat​es for trainee wellbeing and provides an unbiased forum for trainees to raise their issues and concerns.

The VTTC has nominated Dr Louise Segan and Dr Davina Buntsma as the new Co-Chairs of the Committee. The Committee encourages trainees to contact us with any issues or suggestions about improvements to the training experience.

If you would like to speak to one of our committee members directly please view the current membership list and contact details. Alternatively, you can bring anything to the attention of the committee by emailing racpvic@racp.edu.au

Welcoming new Tasmanian trainees

Medical interns and new and current RACP trainees recently ​met with their colleagues to learn about RACP basic training requirements at Basic Training Orientation sessions.

Member Support Officer (MSO) Sharne Westblade met with new Basic Trainees in Hobart, Launceston and North West Regional/Latrobe, to ​discuss College requirements, online tools for completion and Basic Training assessments and policies. 


For further information ​about Basic Training requirements and policies — view the 2018 Handbook relevant to your area of study.

Supervisors, trainees and hospital staff  with questions about RACP training ​programs, pathways and portal navigation ​can contact Sharne at sharne.westblade@racp.edu.au or by calling 0488 466 955.

Support for Supervisors

Did you know the RACP runs Fellow facilitated Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP) Workshops? These workshops are an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas with peers and colleagues. RACP members serving as a supervisor, new to supervision and those who have not previously attended a supervisor workshop are encouraged to attend.

If you are interested in attending a SPDP workshop in Tasmania please email us for further information.

Health and wellbeing resources

The RACP recognise​s the importance of supporting the health and wellbeing of medical practitioners. Maintaining healthy mental, physical and social wellbeing ensures specialists can practice effectively throughout their careers, including during training.

In collaboration with partners across the sector, the RACP developed a range of resources to support the health and wellbeing of Physicians. You can view the health and wellbeing resources on the RACP website.

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