Tasmania – November 2017

A message from the Tasmanian State Committee Chair

Welcome back for the November edition of the RACP Tasmania newsletter. 2017 has been a busy year for the RACP Tasmanian State Committee and I would like to thank all of the Committee members for their hard work and input during the year. 2018 promises more of the same as we continue to support high quality training of our trainees and members in Tasmania while also advocating for the best care for all Tasmanians. 

2018 will see the conclusion of the 2016 to 2018 term of the Committee. This gives an opportunity for members in our state to nominate to be a part of the next Committee which will run from July 2018 through to June 2020. I encourage anyone who may be interested in joining the Committee to keep an eye out for communications in 2018 for Committee elections. The Committee's main focuses have centred around ensuring best clinical care for Tasmanians across the lifespan, best teaching opportunities for training physicians and paediatricians in Tasmania, and contributing to policy and advocacy development within the broader RACP scope.

Finally in what will be our last newsletter for 2017 I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our Tasmanian members a very safe, happy and enjoyable festive season and new year.

Associate Professor Robyn Wallace
Chair, Tasmanian State Committee

Tasmanian RACP Trainee Research Awards for Excellence representative

This year, the RACP Tasmanian Trainee Research Award for Excellence competition was run in conjunction with the 2017 Internal Medical Society of Australia New Zealand Conference in Hobart. As a final year Advanced Trainee in cardiology at the Royal Hobart Hospital, I was fortunate enough to be shortlisted for presenting the results of our research trial investigating the accuracy of smart watches for heart rate assessment in arrhythmias, conducted through Eastern Health and Monash University. 

Five Advanced Trainees representing respiratory medicine, endocrinology, oncology and neurology were selected as finalists for the research prize. The research topics sparked great interest in the audience of Fellows and trainees. These included presentations evaluating bone health in cystic fibrosis and Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia (MEN) syndrome, improving state access to neurosurgical services and the prevalence of migraine among neurologists. 

My research, evaluating smart watches in arrhythmias, demonstrated a strong correlation with wearable devices for heart rate assessment in atrial flutter with variable results seen in atrial fibrillation. While these devices are not medical-grade, it provides us with real-world accuracy of these devices which are increasingly used for chronotropic assessment by patients. 

Following the outstanding quality of all the presentations, I was humbled to be selected as Tasmania representative  awarded the RACP Trainee Research Awards for Excellence in the field of adult medicine. This will afford me the opportunity to present our research at a nationwide forum in 2018. 
I would like to extend our gratitude to the RACP for supporting research endeavours from trainees through the RACP Trainee Research Awards for Excellence and postgraduate scholarships. These will undoubtedly facilitate ongoing research from doctors-in-training and encourage the pursuit of a career as a clinician-researcher.  

Dr Anoop Koshy 
Advanced Trainee in cardiology, Royal Hobart Hospital

Read Dr Koshy's abstract 'Smart watches for heart rate assessment in arrhythmias (PDF 783KB)'.

T C Butler & F R T Stevens Prize for Research

We are pleased to announce Dr Shannon Melody as the recipient of the T C Butler & F R T Stevens Prize for 2017. Dr Melody won the prize for his insightful essay titled ‘A Social and Geographical Gradient in the Retail Availability of Tobacco in Tasmania (PDF 67KB)’.

These awards are due to two generous bequests from RACP Fellows who were based in Tasmania. Dr T C Butler was a distinguished physician who was attached to the Royal Hobart Hospital. Dr F R T Stevens was a physician at the Launceston General Hospital, and was involved in founding of the medical school at the University of Tasmania. 

Read the winning essays from 2016 (PDF 280KB).

Tasmanian Advocacy Update 

The Tasmanian State Committee has been very active recently advocating in a number of areas. This included a meeting with the Tasmanian Minister for Health, the Hon. Michael Ferguson, in August to discuss barriers to optimal healthcare provision for adults living with intellectual disability and gaps in the current healthcare system. This was a very positive meeting and has led to the planning of a further meeting on this issue with the Tasmanian Health Service.

A meeting with Opposition Leader, the Hon. Rebecca White, was also recently held to discuss current services, and the Alcohol and Drugs Policy in Tasmania. 

The Committee has also provided internal feedback on topics such as: 

  • options to reduce pressure on private health insurance premiums by addressing the growth of private patients in public hospitals
  • the diagnostic process for children, adolescents and adults referred for assessment of autism spectrum disorder in Australia: National guideline draft
  • draft RACP position statement on early childhood
  • Optimal Care Pathway consultation
  • training networks for physician training in Tasmania. 
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