The President's Message – 28 October 2022
The Royal Australasian College of Physicians acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land. We would also like to pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.
I would like to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional owners and custodians of the land I am speaking on today. I extend my respect to all Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, and Māori people. Together, we restate our shared commitment to advancing Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori health and education as core business of the RACP.
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 Chain had attempted the first mass production of penicillin. Hans Asperger coined the term autism.
Joseph Lyons and Michael Joseph Savage were the respective Prime Ministers of our two nations; and there were 6.8 million Australians and 1.6 million New Zealanders. The ballpoint pen was invented. And that year, the RACP was incorporated. In 1938, only five women were among the 130 foundation Fellows and members.
Next year, 2023, is our College’s 85th anniversary. In those intervening years, many things have changed beyond all recognition. From those original 130 members, the RACP is now approaching 30,000 strong across our two nations.
Over 8,000 women who have followed in the footsteps of those five original women Fellows, with women comprising nearly 40 per cent of all College Fellows. We can be proud that we are becoming more diverse to better represent the communities we serve. There are now 92 Māori and 56 Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander members of the College. That number will grow given that we have 97 Indigenous trainees. I encourage you to become familiar with the strategies we have in place to support Indigenous trainees.
Remarkably, over 550 of our members are also celebrating their 85th birthday or beyond in 2023, with 48 members aged over 95 years. What an incredible achievement.
All of these members have life membership, which brings them significant benefits and gratitude for such long service to the health of our communities and to our College. Please contact me if you are one of these members, I would love to hear your story.
Our practice of specialist medicine has radically transformed over these decades – it’s as profound as remembering DNA’s double helix was not discovered until 15 years after those first RACP Fellows met.
Today, do we still even need a medical College? I think we do. In fact, 85 years later, I think we need the RACP now more than ever. As members, in our conversations and your messages you are telling me that in 2022, many of you are under profound pressure and experiencing enormous stress.
You are telling me this existed for years prior to COVID-19, and the pandemic has only compounded rates of burnout. You are telling me that you need us, as a College, to use our collective voice to keep pushing issues such as burnout, workforce, health reform and health equity front and centre with health sector decision makers.
In your dialogue with me, you’re also giving our College frank feedback. I will be candid - you are telling me that we are not meeting your expectations. Trainees, you’ve told us we must get the basics right; to deliver repeatedly reliable examinations.
Advanced Trainees, you want us to cut the bureaucracy delaying your progression through training. You’ve all said we must be more flexible, less bureaucratic, more supportive, and much more human in the way we work with you.
I know that you want to know that we care about you and your experiences. Some of you have pointed out that when it comes to stress and burnout, current RACP requirements are actually part of the problem. Others have even wondered if the College can change.
The College has heard you, the Board has heard you, and as President I have heard you. We can change, and we will change. In coming weeks and months, I will update you in more detail on some of the more immediate changes in training. We are committed to meeting your expectations.
Eighty-five years ago, those 130 founding Fellows came together for physicians’ common benefit - that’s what our constitution says. To support and develop physicians as clinicians, public health practitioners, teachers, and researchers. Our core purpose is to be here for your common benefit, your support, and your development. Remembering that will ensure we remain vibrant, relevant, and supportive for the next 85 years.
Please don’t hesitate to email me to share your story, issues, or concerns.
Dr Jacqueline Small
To contact Jacqueline, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The College’s Pre-Budget Submission to the Australian Treasury called on the Australian Government to prioritise measures relevant to delivering and enhancing its commitments to move us towards a sustainable, resilient and future-focused health system for all Australians.
The Budget delivered by the Australian Treasurer on Tuesday 25 October 2022 adopted many recommendations the College has been advocating for. This document provides a high-level overview of wins in key advocacy areas.
- $314 million to help close the gap in First Nations health
- $200 million for schools’ wellbeing programs and $270 million for updates to schools equipment and ventilation, both related to the RACP Kids Covid Catch Up plan.
- establishment of a National Health Sustainability Unit, as called for through the Healthy Climate Future campaign
- funding to initiate the Australian Centre for Disease Control.
While the RACP welcomed the delivery of several election commitments in the October Budget, it also indicated that the Budget falls short of what is required to protect public healthcare in the evolving crisis.
We continue to engage constructively with the Australian Government in the lead up to the May 2023 Budget.
We are advocating strongly for:
- effective measures to address health worker burnout and workforce shortages
- system reforms to support equity of access for underserviced patients
- investing in innovative models of care
- putting prevention centre stage to deliver better health outcomes for Australians and reduce the burden on the system.
The Kids COVID Catch Up and Healthy Climate Future campaigns
The Victorian state election is coming up on Saturday, 26 November 2022. If you live in Victoria, you can support advocacy for the Kids COVID Catch Up Campaign and Healthy Climate Future Campaign with our easy-to-use online campaign tools that allow you to email Victorian political leaders with one click.
Email Victorian political leaders in support of the Healthy Climate Future campaign, which calls for a climate-ready and climate-friendly healthcare system.
You can also email political leaders in support of the Kids COVID Catch Up campaign, which calls for support to help children recover from the setbacks of COVID-19.
Would you like support in taking these email actions? Email Policy@racp.edu.au to attend a Zoom session on Tuesday, 8 November from 6pm AEDT or Wednesday, 9 November from 6pm AEDT, where we will go through the actions together.
Not in Victoria? You can still get involved. Please sign up to the Kids COVID Catch Up campaign and the Healthy Climate Future campaign to keep up-do-date on future advocacy plans.
The October 2022 Divisional Written Examination (DWE) was successfully delivered using paper-based testing on Tuesday, 25 October 2022. There were 125 candidates who sat the exam in 16 sites across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.
We appreciate the efforts of all trainees who sat the exam, and the DPEs and supervisors for guiding and supporting them. We also want to thank our staff for all their efforts towards a successful and COVID-safe exam delivery.
Applications for the 2023 DWE will be open from Monday, 21 November to Tuesday, 6 December 2022. Eligible candidates will receive an email inviting them to apply. The February 2023 DWE is scheduled to be delivered on Monday, 13 February 2023. For more information, please visit the website.
In response to the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) and Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) | Te Kaunihera Rata o Aotearoa’s changed registration and recertification requirements, the MyCPD 2023 Framework has been modified to support you to meet your regulatory requirements. The new regulatory requirements will apply to all registered medical practitioners – not just specialists.
From 2023, the annual minimum CPD requirement will be 50 hours, inclusive of the mandatory and strongly encouraged activities. Professor Martin Veysey, Chair of the College CPD Committee, explains the CPD activities you'll need to complete from 1 January 2023.
Read more about the new requirements on our website and find helpful CPD resources and templates in the MyCPD Interactive Handbook.
We know these new requirements will impact some more than others, so please reach out to the CPD Team via MyCPD@racp.edu.au or MyCPD@racp.org.nz for any assistance, or if you would like to contribute to the continuous development of supporting resources.
Need support with the new CPD Framework changes? Register for the 2023 MyCPD Framework Q&A webinar, which will be held on Tuesday, 22 November 2022 from 5pm to 6pm AEDT / 7pm to 8pm NZDT. You will find out more about the upcoming changes, what they mean for you, and will identify meaningful professional development activities.
The Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) opened a recognition pathway to allow eligible practitioners to apply for legacy transition to the DipPOM. Applications for the recognition process can be submitted until 1 December 2023.
Under the ANZCA recognition process overseen by the Recognition Pathways Working Group, experienced perioperative medicine specialists can now apply to receive ANZCA’s DipPOM. This initial cohort of recognised DipPOM recipients will form an essential resource to support, guide and assess DipPOM participants in clinical practice.
Applicants from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians are eligible to apply.
Find out more
The Australian Government’s National Medicine Policy (NMP) aims to set the direction and approach for the availability and use of medicines in Australia. It is applicable to medicines research, development, regulation, manufacture, evaluation, supply, and access. It seeks to promote the quality use of medicines by focusing on the needs of people and the responsibilities of health professionals to support all communities in Australia to achieve optimal health outcomes.
The College’s third submission to inform the Australian Government’s National Medicines Policy (NMP) Review focuses on three important areas that the revised NMP needs to adequately address to be effective:
Read the College submission
- governance, accountability, evaluation and resourcing
- improving pathways to allow equitable access to needed treatments for all Australians
- embedding relevant specialist advice throughout the NMP process.
RACP Evolve has released two animations to Join the Evolve movement and complement the Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine Top-5 recommendations. The animations were recently shared during RACP Evolve exhibitions at the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs 2022 Conference and 57th Australian and New Zealand Society of Nephrology Annual Scientific Meeting.
Find out more about Evolve
The ROC (RACP Online Community) turned one on 30 September. To mark this special occasion, the College is celebrating throughout the month of ROCtober. So if you haven’t logged into the ROC yet, now is the perfect time to get involved.
Members who post a question or start a thread in their online community during ROCtober will also go into a draw to win a $100 Prezzee gift card. So make sure you log in to the ROC every day to see what’s happening in your online community and take part in the ROC’s first birthday celebrations.
How to get started
- Login to MyRACP using your normal ID and password
- Click on the tile 'Join the ROC'
- Accept the Terms and Conditions
- Select ‘Explore’ and you will see the communities you belong to.
For more information, visit the ROC FAQs page or email email@example.com.
Log in to The ROC
Our engaging new video series highlights how members experience using My Health Record. The videos show you how to best use My Health Record for accessing pathology information, advance care planning, secure messaging, and ordering medications electronically. They also show how My Health Record can reduce patients’ length of stay in hospital and improve the overall quality of care.
Search for 'My Health Record' on Medflix to get started.
IMJ On-Air: Managing cannabinoid use in palliative care
About two thirds of Australians use complementary and alternative medicines but only around half of these people will mention it to their doctor. Patients in palliative care settings may be more inclined than most to try therapies from outside the box. But they are also more vulnerable to side effects and interactions given that their drug metabolism and clearance mechanisms are often impaired.
In this podcast you’ll hear the authors of a Clinical Perspectives article titled Complementary and alternative therapies in the palliative setting. It’s published in the October issue of the Internal Medicine Journal which can be accessed by all RACP members at the login page.
Professor Jennifer Martin and Dr Joanne Patel describe how cannabinoid products, especially, have become more readily accessible to patients in recent years and often considered a panacea for many different symptoms. But given the wide variety of products each with a different concentration of active ingredients, drug effects are not always as a patient or doctor might expect. These compounds also have suppressive effects on P450 and other clearance enzymes which can alter the outcomes of other prescribed drugs. But practitioners also need to consider their relationship with a patient when giving advice on the use of complementary medicines.
- Dr Jonathan Brett FRACP FAChAM (St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney)
- Professor Jennifer Martin FRACP (University of Newcastle, John Hunter Hospital)
- Dr Joanne Patel FRACP FAChPM (University of Newcastle, John Hunter Hospital)
To be among the first to find out about the latest Pomegranate Health podcasts, subscribe to email alerts. You can also search for ‘Pomegranate Health’ in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Castbox, or any podcasting app. RACP Fellows can claim CPD credits for listening via MyCPD. For a transcript and further references, please visit our website.
Why do you facilitate SPDP workshops?
High quality supervision is a critical part of all our training programs and it is important that we do it purposefully and from an evidence base. Although there is less evidence for educational initiatives, when compared to our clinical practice, there are established adult educational principles that apply and it is good to reflect on them as we go about our supervision. SPDP workshops are one way of doing this and I am keen for everyone to be the best possible supervisor they can be.
What is the most enjoyable part of your role as an SPDP facilitator?
I enjoy meeting people from various disciplines from across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand and hearing about their experiences of supervision, as supervisors and trainees. Every time I do a workshop, I learn something new and can then see if it works in my supervisory practice.
Why should your colleagues consider becoming an SPDP Facilitator?
Being an SPDP Facilitator is fun and you don’t need to be an expert to facilitate a workshop. There are some skills that a facilitator needs but the expertise in the content is in the workshop and your job is to draw that out.
Why do you think your colleagues should complete the SPDP workshops?
Why not? If you want to be a great supervisor, it is good to think about and reflect on how you do it. The workshops cover setting a culture for teaching and learning, giving feedback, teaching in the workplace and how to assess in the workplace and these are all great skills to have. We spend significant amounts of time keeping up to date with our clinical discipline but just assume we can supervise. If we want to help our trainees become expert physicians, then spending time to consider how we can do this better is never wasted.
About the SPDP
Register now for a virtual, face-to-face, or online Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP) workshop. For more information, visit our website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The College offers an extensive collection of online learning resources. They are designed to support you with your professional development and lifelong learning needs. Check out our range of resources covering important topics such as cultural safety, digital health, genomics, advocacy, quality and safety, and more.
Don’t forget to claim CPD credits for time spent on RACP Online Learning.
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