The President's Message
The RACP President publishes a newsletter covering important news, announcements and developments from across the College, relevant to all RACP members.
Welcome back. We begin the year with congratulations to the 22 RACP Fellows recognised in the 2024 Australia Day and Aotearoa New Zealand New Year Honours lists.
It’s the time of year when many of us look back over the past 12 months and take stock of what we have experienced and achieved. I am sure that there have been both challenging and joyous times for you as well during 2023.
One of the College’s most joyful and exciting events is Convocation in which we celebrate and welcome new Fellows to our College. Professor Geoff McColl, Rheumatologist, President of the Australian Medical Council and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Queensland was the keynote speaker. I want to share some of his message with you.
I recently read an article that deeply moved me. It was an anonymous trainee’s story of preparing for our examinations. The ordeal of juggling 13-hour shifts, study, sleep, relationships, relentless practising of multi-choice questions, and, in their own words, `somehow’ managing to pass the Divisional Written Exam.
Bullying is still a pervasive problem while training in our profession. In Australia, the most authoritative survey on the subject is the Medical Training Survey, run by the Medical Board of Australia.
People living outside metropolitan areas have poorer health outcomes. The 28 per cent of Australian and 16.3 per cent of Aotearoa New Zealand people who live in regional, rural and remote areas have higher rates of hospitalisations, deaths and injury.
Today I’d like to talk with you about quality and safety in healthcare. At first glance, these two concepts might seem like a given. Surely for all the pressures and issues our healthcare sectors face, they are fundamentally high priorities. Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand healthcare systems generally sit in the middle of OECD international rankings of quality and safety.
We’ve known for decades that we live in highly inequitable societies when it comes to enjoying good health, which is why health equity is a critical principle that underpins all our College advocacy work.
Many of you will be aware that our Annual General Meeting is on 5 May. This is an important part of the governance of the College, and I encourage you to attend.
I want to begin this month with a special message to our 2,400 Fellows and 1,100 trainees in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Welcome back to 2023, a significant year in the life of our College. This year, the RACP marks its 85th anniversary.
It’s that time when many of us reflect on the past 12 months and look ahead to what the next year may hold. This year, I can look back on the first six months of my RACP Presidency.
Today, I want to talk with you about the importance of the first 2,000 days of life – and the degree to which they affect the following 30,000 days. Most of you know that I am a paediatrician, and so am deeply aware of the importance of the first 2,000 days for a child’s health and wellbeing.
Today, I want to take you back 85 years – and if you will bear with me – the reason for doing so will be apparent shortly. In 1938 the world population was 4.3 billion. In medicine, Florey and Chan had attempted the first mass production of penicillin. Hans Asperger coined the term autism.
We, as members of the RACP, are committed to serving the health of our people. This remains true from the earliest days of our Basic Training to the later years of our professional life.
One of our core tasks as a College, is to train the physicians of tomorrow. Our 9,000 trainees across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand are a very important part of our membership. But for those in training, the College can be a challenging place to get to know and to build connections.
I recently travelled to England and Ireland as part of my President’s role to build connections with medical colleges and colleagues. It was a short, but very busy trip. International connections in medicine are very important.
I want to talk with you about burnout. Some of you may have seen the RACP’s commentary in Australian national media about burnout and that it is an urgent issue for the health system.
I have been asked recently - what kind of President will I be? The same... but different. Our times, and our College, are changing, yet we stand true to our foundations.
Sadly, this will be my last video message to you as President of the College. It has been an honour to serve and represent you and all members of the College over the past two years.
I’m sure all of you have watched the conflict that's emerged in Ukraine over the last few weeks with a growing sense of disbelief and horror.
Today, I need to talk to you about our recent exam problems. These most recent issues are very stressful for our trainees, DPEs, supervisors and staff, as well as their families. We, as a College, regret they have occurred and are individually contacting the affected trainees.
For this, my first message of the year, I would like to wish you a happy and prosperous 2022 and thank you for your dedication to your work during the past year, because of this pandemic.
The end of 2021 is upon us, and in many senses, a lot of us may think it’s a year we’d rather forget. There’s been the relentless march of new virus variants, the struggle of coping with lockdowns and new waves of infection as the Northern Hemisphere winter sets in.
Many of you have been living the pressures and effects of COVID firsthand on the medical frontlines.
Earlier this week, our College achieved a major milestone – we successfully held a computer-based Divisional Written Exam for over 300 Basic Trainees across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. Congratulations!
We are living in times of change and with COVID-19, it's been unpredictable. Many factors are converging at the moment to disrupt usual patterns of life and work for all of us.
COVID-19 has thrown us many challenges and your dedication to our core purpose has been truly outstanding.
I emailed you last week about the Member Satisfaction Survey and if you haven’t already, I strongly encourage you to complete it.
A lot has recently been happening in the College Policy & Advocacy space. We recently went through a rigorous process to appoint a new Executive General Manager for Policy & Advocacy (P&A).
Time and time again, College members ask for three things; value for money from their fees, transparency in College processes, and advocacy as a responsible organisation. The College works hard to advocate in our work with governments, at state and national levels on pressing issues identified by you.
I need to talk to you today about a very important issue that relates to our newest Fellows. The life of a physician is not easy. Yes, wonderfully rewarding and a great privilege, but it is not (and has never been), a gravy train.
This is a serious topic; the current outcry about the treatment of women in Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand politics, and in public life has made international news over the past month.
We’re currently embarking on one of the most critical times in recent medical history… the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.
I’d like to start by acknowledging all of the Divisional Written Exam candidates who sat their exam on Monday. This includes candidates in Melbourne, Geelong and Auckland who went into lockdown, days, and even hours before their exam.
I’d like to start by wishing you a happy new year and congratulating our members who were recognised in the 2021 Aotearoa New Zealand New Year Honours and Australia Day Honours lists.