The President's Message – 6 August 2021
I emailed you last week about the Member Satisfaction Survey and if you haven’t already, I strongly encourage you to complete it. The survey is being conducted by EY Sweeney, an independent contractor, giving you anonymity. On Tuesday, 27 July you would have received an email from them with a link to the survey. If you didn’t receive this email, please contact Member Services.
This survey is the key channel for us, as members, to provide anonymous feedback to the College. It’s a great opportunity to tell us what you think is working, what isn't working, and what we can do better.
There are questions about our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are also questions about your experience using our online tools. Feedback is being sought about our communications strategy, which is very important to us. Your opinion of the College’s policy and advocacy work will help guide our future direction in this area, and very importantly, represent the most important issues for you, as members.
Finally, you’ll be asked about the value of your membership. Three thousand, three hundred and ninety-three responded in 2019 – a 34 per cent increase in respondents from 2016. We would like to emulate that again and hear from you this year. There was a good cross section of trainees, Fellows and retired Fellows, who provided insights into what is important.
The results in 2019 showed us we need to communicate effectively with you – and that's what we're doing today. We need to showcase our online learning resources, provide you with case studies, tools and frameworks for everyday practice. We also need to improve the College website (and don't we know). This significant project is underway.
Your feedback has been used to develop important initiatives such as our health and wellbeing strategy, a focus on Gender Equity in Medicine, the Indigenous Strategic Framework and education renewal.
Again, I encourage you to complete the survey before it closes on Monday, 16 August. It should take you no longer than 10 to 15 minutes and provides us with incredibly invaluable information about what you want as members, to give you value for money.
Professor John Wilson AM
Practicing rural and remote medicine offers opportunities, career progression and a lifestyle simply not available in Australia’s big cities. You can watch a fascinating new series of short videos In our Own Words, about the critical role our Fellows and trainees fulfil in providing healthcare to small towns, the regions and remote Australia, via the Specialist Training Program (STP).
The STP is a funding initiative of the Australian Government Department of Health. There are around 900 STP-funded training positions across Australia, managed by 13 medical colleges. The RACP currently manages around 380 positions.
With funding from the Commonwealth Department of Health, we’re increasing awareness and understanding of the Program. Our members tell their own stories, what it has meant to them and the communities they serve.
We will be releasing these to you weekly over the coming months. The videos will be available on the RACP website, where we have created a new mini-site information about the program.
Your College, your voice. We’re listening
We want to hear your thoughts about the College via our Member Satisfaction Survey (MSS).
On Tuesday, 27 July all RACP members (including trainees) should have received an email containing the survey link from email@example.com. If you didn’t receive this email, contact us.
The survey should take no longer than 15 minutes. This is your chance to tell us how we’re doing and have your say.
The survey is being conducted by EY Sweeney, an independent contractor. They will provide aggregated results back to us and any individual comments are not identified as coming from a specific member – your survey responses are anonymous.
Please complete the survey and have your say so we can understand your overall satisfaction with the College and identify areas for improvement. The survey closes on Monday,16 August 2021. Further information about the survey is available on this RACP webpage.
Find out more
Board Communiqué June 2021
The communiqué from the RACP Board meeting held in June is available on the RACP website.
This new online course has been designed to help physicians and trainees better understand the RACP’s Medical Specialist Access Framework. It helps you take steps to apply the Framework's principles in your daily practice. The aim is to address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s inequitable access to specialist healthcare by connecting stakeholders involved in delivering specialist medical care. The course focuses on steps that individual practitioners can take, highlighting successful case studies of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people accessing specialist care.
Watch this short showreel for a preview of what you’ll find on Medflix, home of our extensive collection of powerful and engaging educational videos. The videos are designed to support members with their lifelong learning and professional development needs and cover a range of clinical and professional topics. Tune in to Medflix to view more and share.
Neil Hamilton Fairley Medal
The Neil Hamilton Fairley Medal is awarded by the RACP every five years in recognition of an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the field of medicine. Nominations for the 2022 award are now being accepted. The award is open to both RACP Fellows as well as non-members of the College. However, the nominee must be nominated by a Fellow of the RACP to be considered.
Details regarding the application process and selection criteria are available on the website. Nominations close on Tuesday, 31 August 2021.
College Awards and Medals
Nominations are now open for these prestigious College Awards acknowledging outstanding contributions and achievements made by our Fellows and trainees in their respective fields:
If you know someone deserving of recognition, now is the time to nominate them. Nominations must be received by Tuesday, 14 September 2021. Full details are available on the RACP Foundation webpage. You may also email the RACP Foundation with enquiries.
There is still time for Congress delegates to explore the exclusive content from RACP Congress 2021. Some of these sessions were recently featured in the current RACP Quarterly.
Building a solution space for Indigenous health at the RACP: Transformations, challenges and opportunities, (7 May session): This session explores the ways that the College can improve Indigenous health outcomes and delves into what went into creating the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
Workplace safety: The challenges of workforce casualisation and mobility (29 April session): This session explores the way different industries are dealing with an increased casual and mobile workforce and adapting to the health and safety challenges in the current environment.
Other session highlights include:
- COVID-19 vaccine: Reflections on the cost (and promise) of speed
- Making a difference, the Howard Williams Medal Oration
- COVID-19 and the role of science and leadership: Reflections from 2020 and looking to the future
- The AFPHM William Redfern Oration.
To watch, simply visit the virtual attendee portal
Please note: All RACP Congress 2021 recorded sessions will be available until Friday, 29 October 2021 for Congress delegates.
The Primary Health Reform Steering Group’s Discussion Paper proposes recommendations to the Australian Government for the Primary Healthcare 10 Year Plan. A central aspect of the recommendations is Voluntary Patient Registration (VPR). To support integrated care, the College suggests the VPR be extended to physicians and paediatricians where appropriate. Other feedback goes to ensuring a Primary Health 10 Year Plan is more comprehensive and there are strong recommendations on rural health, increasing health literacy, climate change and health, intellectual disability, preventive health, occupational health, oral health care, palliative and rehabilitation care and transitions from children to adult services.
The results of the 2020 Physician Training Survey are now available to RACP members through an interactive reporting dashboard. You can access the dashboard through your MyRACP login.
View the Physician Training Survey 2020 Summary Report for an overview of the key findings for all physician trainees and educators and how they compare to those from 2018.
The survey results indicate that most trainee and educator respondents were satisfied with their overall training experience in 2020 and would recommend their workplace training setting to others. However, it is evident that last year, service provision took priority over education compared to previous years and educational opportunities were reduced. Ongoing issues regarding workload, wellbeing and workplace culture were highlighted once again, with increased rates of burnout, bullying, harassment and discrimination. While some of the concerning findings may be temporary impacts of COVID-19, the results highlight ongoing systemic issues that need to be addressed.
Through the Physician Training Survey, the RACP:
- supports individuals by providing confidential support to respondents who raised wellbeing concerns through the RACP support program
- drives improvements in training settings by providing feedback and identifying settings with results that indicate potential concerns and asking the training setting’s executives to respond to the feedback
- informs systemic change by using results in the development of strategic approaches to improve physician training and the culture of medicine.
We thank all trainees and educators who took part in this important activity.
About the Physician Training Survey
Eligible RACP trainees and their educators were asked to reflect on their training experiences during term three in Australia and quarter four in Aotearoa New Zealand. Twenty-one per cent (n=1675) of trainees and 17 per cent (n=907) of educators responded to the survey. The survey explored topics aligned to the Training Provider Standards. We also sought feedback on the impacts of COVID-19 on training.
The survey is independently administered by research company ENGINE, ensuring we receive anonymous survey data only. Data is not reported where there are less than five participant responses.
Further details about the Physician Training Survey are provided on the RACP webpage. If you have questions regarding the Physician Training Survey, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
August session on challenges and successes in reducing low-value care in paediatrics
The idea that we order unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures can be confronting for clinicians, particularly in the space of paediatrics. However, work is being done to better understand the drivers of low-value practices and what may work to reduce them.
Join Dr Joanna Lawrence and Dr Suzi Riess on Tuesday, 17 August 2021, 6pm-7pm (AEST) / 8pm-9pm (NZST) for a discussion on the challenges and successes of reducing low-value care in paediatric practice.
We’re hosting more online events than ever before, so have introduced a condensed monthly events digest. The latest digest was emailed to you, but you can also read it online.
This monthly communication will be sent to you on the first Wednesday of each month, to provide you with an opportunity to virtually attend events from all over Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. We hope this makes your life that little bit easier and we look forward to seeing you at our next event.
Discover upcoming events
Episode 71: Voluntary assisted dying – What have we learned?
In 2017, Victoria was the first state in Australia to pass voluntary assisted legislation and has been followed by Western Australia, Tasmania and now South Australia. Aotearoa New Zealand passed its End-of-life Choice Bill two years ago and it will go live in November. This podcast draws on the experience of some very committed Victorian clinicians who share the lessons they've learned over the last two years about practical implementation of voluntary assisted dying (VAD).
The presenters were recorded at RACP Congress 2021 held in May. Palliative care physician, Dr Danielle Ko, explained how Austin Health has prepared and supported its healthcare staff through this shift in practice. Palliative care physician Dr Greg Mewitt described the challenge of consulting remotely with patients in regional Victoria. Professor Paul Komesaroff reflected on some other points of friction in Victoria’s law as it stands and the practicalities of medical practice. And Professor James Howe talked of his work as a neurologist in a Catholic healthcare institution, and how tensions over assisted dying had been resolved.
- Dr Danielle Ko FRACGP FAChPM (Clinical Ethics Lead, Austin Health; VAD Review Board, Safercare Victoria)
- Dr Greg Mewett FRACGP FAChPM DRCOG (Ballarat Rural Health; Grampians Regional Palliative Care Team)
- Professor Paul Komesaroff FRACP (Alfred Hospital; Monash University)
- Professor James Howe FRACP (VAD Review Board, Safercare Victoria)
- Dr George Laking FRACP (Auckland City Hospital; RACP President Aotearoa New Zealand).
Do you want to be among the first to find out about more Pomegranate Health podcasts? Subscribe to email alerts or search for ‘Pomegranate Health’ in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Castbox, or any podcasting app. RACP Fellows can claim CPD credits for listening and learning via MyCPD. For a transcript and further references please visit our webpage.
Whakapakari i nga hapori ako | Strengthening inclusive learning communities
In 2021, the DPE forum and the Advanced Training Committee Chairs’ Day will be combined and held on Rāpare, 28 Whiringa-ā-nuku |Thursday, 28 October 2021, Tāmaki Makaurau | Auckland at the Cordis Hotel. This important education event is for all Aotearoa New Zealand DPEs and Advanced Training Committee Chairs. Register today to confirm your attendance.
Services Australia is upgrading its digital health and aged care channels. These upgrades will ensure that patient and provider information is secure, now and into the future.
To continue accessing the channels below, you’ll need to be using web service compatible software by Sunday, 13 March 2022:
- Medicare Online
- Australian Immunisation Register - via Medicare Online
- Department of Veterans’ Affairs - via Medicare Online
- PBS Online
- Aged Care Online.
Services Australia is also strengthening its authentication process by replacing Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) site certificates for organisations with Provider Digital Access (PRODA). PRODA will help you do your electronic business with Services Australia securely. If you use an alternative channel for your claims or don’t use software, you don’t need to do anything. These upgrades won’t affect you.
What you need to do
Your software developer will have information on their transition and upgrade plans for your site. If you haven’t heard from them, contact them now and ask:
- when will your web services compatible software be available
- if you will need to register for Provider Digital Access (PRODA).
If you use PBS Online, your software developer will contact you when more information is available.
It is important that you understand these changes, as they will affect your business if you use software to submit claims and data to Services Australia.
Find out more
Women & Leadership Australia provides world-class leadership development programs for emerging, middle, and senior women leaders. Their programs bring together the latest in leadership theory and practice with a focus on applied learning and are designed to foster excellence and equity in leadership across Australia.
Scholarships are now available through Women & Leadership Australia to encourage more women to step into leadership roles and to support the further development of current women leaders in the Health Sector.
Scholarships from $1,000 to $5,000 will support participation in one of three leadership development courses designed for emerging through to senior leaders. Hurry, applications close Friday, 10 September 2021.
Find out more
The Medical Board of Australia’s Medical Training Survey (MTS) is now live and will be running for two months from 2 August to 7 October. All doctors-in-training in Australia, including RACP trainees, are eligible to participate. A survey link is provided after you renew your medical registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra). If you miss it, you’ll find it in your Ahpra confirmation of registration email.
We encourage you to complete this important survey and have your say on medical training in Australia.
About the Medical Training Survey
The MTS is a national survey of all doctors in training in Australia. Results provide a snapshot of the quality and experience of medical training in Australia.
The survey is independently administered by research company EY Sweeney. The MTS is anonymous and your answers will be handled in line with the privacy policies of the Medical Board of Australia, Ahpra and EY Sweeney. Only de-identified survey data will be provided to Ahpra and the Medical Board of Australia.
Further details can be found by visiting the Medical Training Survey website. If you have questions regarding the MTS, please email MTS@ahpra.gov.au.
The July 2021 issue of the Internal Medicine Journal is now live on the Wiley Online Library. This month’s Editor's Choice is an original article titled Treatment and outcomes for Indigenous and non-Indigenous lung cancer patients in the Top End of the Northern Territory.
Other highlights from the issue are:
- Endocrine adverse effects of immune checkpoint inhibitors
- Dysphagia: clinical evaluation and management
- Telehealth for chronic neurological conditions
- Doctors’ understanding of consent law
- Diagnostic settings and carer experiences for dementia diagnosis
- Renal manifestations of syphilis.
The early view of the August edition of the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health is now live on the Wiley Online Library. The image of the month is Neonate with a chest wall abnormality by Dr Inês Coelho, Dr Sofia Baptista, Dr Stefanie Pereira, Dr Maria J Castro.
Other highlights from the issue are:
- Guillain–Barré syndrome with optic neuritis
- Cognitive behavioural therapy is better than no treatment for anxiety in children
- Is there an optimal approach to elective stabilisation of glycaemic control in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes mellitus?
- ESCAPE-Allergy: Evaluating screening for children and adolescents with penicillin allergy
- Twenty-four-week interim outcomes of bedaquiline-containing regimens in treatment of adolescents with rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis: A retrospective cohort study in China
- Fabricated or induced illness in children: A guide for Australian health-care practitioners.
Read other RACP eBulletins: