The President's Message – 25 February 2022

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.

As I am sure you can imagine, there were comprehensive contingency and crisis plans in place ahead of the exam. When you heard about this, you may have thought “not again” or thought “why on earth can’t the College just get this right?” Indeed.

I want to explain some context and background – but not to be defensive or make excuses. It’s important you are fully informed and understand the issue. On this occasion, we offered a computer-based exam with a paper-based alternative available under special considerations. As part of the contingency plan, should any interruption occur, those affected will sit a back-up exam on Tuesday, 8 March.

Our trainees and DPEs have long requested that we run the Divisional Written Exams more than once a year. That enables those who don’t pass early in the year to re-sit later in the year. It also gives those with young families, carer roles or other commitments the flexibility of having two exam dates each year. Most important. But setting, printing, distributing, staging, marking, and notifying results for just one secure paper-based exam a year is one of the College's largest and most complex annual logistical exercises.

It involves many Fellows and staff, and thousands of hours of preparation. Indeed, multiple question banks have to be developed by volunteer Fellows. Staging just one paper-based exam each year is a significant draw on these resources and very stressful for the exam Committees. I thank them for their efforts.

If we are to regularly stage any more than one exam a year, realistically it needs to be computer-based. CBTs, as they’re known, allow more flexibility in delivering examination questions and we can release results far more quickly than we have ever done before.

Comparing us with other Colleges or education institutions here and overseas is actually problematic. Smaller Colleges with smaller cohorts and fewer examination venues do not face the same complexities that we do – with over 1,100 sitting each year in multiple countries. Our circumstances are different to many in other settings. And we are heavily dependent on our volunteer Fellows to write questions.

Some of you have asked why we didn’t have a paper-based backup ready to go on the spot if there were computer problems. Sure, but it’s difficult to distribute, secure and then release justbackup papers for a different exam during an exam that’s already in progress with venues hosting the CBT exam geared up for this different process. Indeed a very complex exercise to do both.

Nearly every peer College and many similar education institutions in our region and internationally have found CBTs challenging to implement and have experienced the same issues as we have. We need to carefully consider the College’s further implementation of CBT delivery when we have a clear view of exactly what has occurred. The prolonged delays in escalation of the login issues had not been experienced in previous exams or in any of the extensive trials beforehand.

This explanation does not minimise the experience of this latest exam for our trainees and DPEs and I am sorry. The NHS reformer and author Jan Filochowski who wrote Too good to fail famously stated ‘you’ll all make mistakes, its about correcting them before they become really big.’ That’s so important.

As promised, we look forward to seeing our candidates sit the back-up on Tuesday, 8 March.

I just want to make sure you understand the full picture.

Professor John Wilson AM
RACP President

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Join the Kids COVID Catch Up campaign

Paediatricians and physicians are calling for a plan to get our kids back on track

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Professor John Wilson hosted our Child Health Summit last Friday, 18 February. The virtual event was opened by the Hon. Dr Katie Allen MP and closed by the Hon. Shadow Assistant Health Minister Ged Kearney MP.

During the Summit, we officially launched our Kids COVID Catch Up Campaign. In the leadup to the Australian 2022 Federal Election and beyond, the campaign calls on leaders from across the political spectrum to support children and young people to ‘catch up’ from the setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic. The launch received extensive national media coverage and plenty of engagement on social media. You can learn more about the campaign’s key policy asks and sign up at the campaign website.

The Summit featured a panel of preeminent experts, including a number of RACP members – Co-Chair on the National Children’s Mental Health Strategy, Professor Frank Oberklaid AM; Advanced Trainee in Paediatrics and proud Gamilaraay woman, Dr Elkie Hull; and Director, Centre for Community Child Health, Royal Children’s Hospital and Population Health Theme Director at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Professor Sharon Goldfeld.

The evening prior to the public launch of the campaign, President-Elect Dr Jacqueline Small hosted a member-only campaign workshop, where members gave feedback on the campaign materials and learnt more about getting involved. We encourage all members to sign up to the campaign to keep up to date with all the exciting developments.


Join the campaign

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Kick off RACP Congress 2022 in style

The chance to reconnect with friends and colleagues has always been an important part of RACP Congress. COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of having strong networks, not only for work, but in our personal lives. It is with that in mind, that we invite you to join us in Melbourne for the welcome reception and gala dinner. These two events promise to be quite a night and present an opportunity that has been missing in recent times.

Make sure you also check out the other social events, or just find some time between sessions to catch up with a friend, colleague or mentor.

More workshop details announced

RACP Congress is pleased to be bringing you a range of workshops as part of its three-day program. A much in demand feature of any Congress and with limited seats available, book now to ensure your place.

Check out sessions such as:

  • Media training
  • An Introduction to the Coaching Approach to Professional Development
  • The Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP).

Explore the workshops

Fellows, last chance to secure your early-bird tickets

Fellows, there is still time to receive your early-bird discount for RACP Congress. Simply register before Monday, 28 February 2022 and enter the code EARLY22 when registering.

Register now

Calling Australian Fellows and trainees: Apply for a 2022 Digital Health Scholarship

Continuing the College’s partnership with the Australian Digital Health Agency, the RACP is offering 10 digital health scholarships to eligible Australian Fellows and trainees.

Scholarships to the value of $4,000 each are available for Fellows and trainees familiar with, or practising, the use of My Health Record and electronic prescribing in the healthcare environment.

Applicants must:

  • be an RACP Fellow or trainee who resides in Australia
  • be currently employed in a public or private-accredited clinical environment
  • have a recent demonstrated record of prescribing electronically and/or adopting various digital health initiatives.

To apply, submit an expression of interest form to by Friday, 11 March 2022.

Remembering Clinical Associate Professor James D’Rozario

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The RACP pays its deepest respects to the late Clinical Associate Professor James D’Rozario a consultant haematologist who recently passed away on 27 January 2022. James completed his training and become a Fellow of the RACP in 2000 and his contributions across trainee examinations, supervision, and accreditation, have been invaluable for the College and its trainees.

He was an exceptional Educational Supervisor for Basic and Advanced Trainees at RACP since 2009. As an accreditor and member of the Adult Medicine Accreditation Subcommittee from 2017 to 2019, he conducted site visits and provided advice and expertise to colleagues and executives across many RACP accredited hospitals on how to support a collegial training environment for RACP trainees.

James was also a member of the National/Senior Examining panel since 2012. As a National Examiner, he was actively involved in calibrating local examiners, examining trainees, and providing post-exam feedback to trainees. He was a member of the Adult Medicine Clinical Examination Committee in the role of State Coordinator for the Australian Capital Territory since 2019. In his roles as a Regional Examiner from 2010 – 2012 and even in his capacity as a National Examiner, he greatly assisted College staff with the planning of the Clinical Examination within the ACT. James worked as part of the Clinical Examination Committee (CEC) to support the development of alternative models for exam delivery throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and his contribution to this process is greatly appreciated.

James will be dearly missed by his fellow Committee members, College staff and his trainees.

Upcoming deadline to record your MyCPD credits for 2021

This is a friendly reminder that 2021 MyCPD records are due by Thursday, 31 March 2022. Additionally, CPD records are now open for 2022.

2022 CPD requirements remain the same as 2021, please see the 2022 MyCPD Framework for details. Please note that the Medical Council of New Zealand has additional mandatory requirements for Aotearoa New Zealand practitioners.

Helpful links:

Please don’t hesitate to contact the CPD Team for any assistance:

1300 697 227 (option 3 for CPD)

Aotearoa New Zealand
04 460 8122

RACP employment opportunity: Lead Fellow, Education Learning and Assessment

Would you like to join the College? We are looking for a Lead Fellow to join the Education Learning and Assessment team. The successful applicant will provide leadership, advice and support for the College’s education program across the membership.

About the role

Reporting to the Executive General Manager, Education Learning and Assessment, you will play a significant role, providing physician leadership and supporting the College’s education and assessment strategy, growing the next generation of supervisors and examiners. You will strengthen and expand the recognition of the key roles training supervisors and examiners play in assuring the high quality of our training programs across both Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.

Help to shape the future direction of the College’s education program by delivering a physician’s perspective and represent our membership base. You will be a trusted adviser to the Senior Leadership Team and the College Education Committee, which is currently progressing a significant program of educational renewal for all 63 College programs.

This high-profile role is ideal if you are looking to expand your career beyond clinical delivery into medical education and impact the future of the College service delivery.

This opportunity is for a 12-month contract with part-time hours of 15 to 22.5 hours per week. Applications close Friday, 11 March 2022.

Find out more

Hear what others have to say about the ROC

The ROC is a private place to network, engage and connect in real time. Think of it as a virtual common room, or online forum, available exclusively to RACP members and Overseas Trained Physicians (OTPs).

You can access it via the MyRACP tile, download from the App Store, or download from Google Play.

Support for Rural Specialists in Australia: Funding round six

You're invited to apply for a Support for Rural Specialists in Australia (SRSA) grant of up to $10,000 to support your continuing professional development (CPD). SRSA grants cover CPD costs like registration, travel, accommodation and meals. Applications for interactive CPD like clinical attachments, peer review and workshops are encouraged.

You are eligible if you:

  • are a Fellow, or Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander trainee, of a (non-GP) specialist
    medical college
  • work in a regional, rural or remote area (check your classification here).

The application deadline for funding round six is Friday, 15 April 2022. CPD activities must be
completed between 1 July 2022 and 30 September 2023. Find out more and access the online application format the SRSA webpsite.

The SRSA Program is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and
managed by the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges.

Contribute to the Indigenous Physicians Video Series and help grow the Indigenous medical workforce

The Member Learning & Development team is seeking members to assist them in producing a series of videos which will share the experiences and personal stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trainees and physicians. The aim of the video series is to build an understanding of the role and value of Indigenous physicians in healthcare, while aiming to inspire Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who are considering a career in medicine and physician training. 

Trainees and Fellows with a special interest in this area are invited to join the working group to help scope and consult on the project. Submit your expression of interest by Friday, 18 March 2022.

Find out more

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Explore new horizons at the AChSHM ASM

Join AChSHM Fellows and trainees at the Australasian Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine (AChSHM) Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) on Saturday, 19 March. Themed 'Towards new horizons' this one-day virtual event is open to those who have an interest in sexual health medicine.

Topics include:

  • HIV in women
  • complex cases
  • STI testing and treatment paradigms
  • online sexual health and new technology.

Find out more

The Advanced Trainees' Meeting returns for another year

Advanced Trainees, make sure you don’t miss out on the Advanced Trainees' Meeting 2022. Held the previous day on Friday, 18 March, this day is incredibly popular and will help you immeasurably.

The program features topics on:

  • sexual assault
  • HIV and conception planning
  • sexual health counselling
  • complex syphilis
  • lab methods
  • learning resources for sexual health
  • mock exit exam.

Register now

2021 Medical Training Survey highlights efforts of RACP educators

The RACP welcomes the release of the results of the Medical Board of Australia’s third annual Medical Training Survey (MTS). The survey was run throughout August and September 2021 and was open to all doctors in training in Australia. The survey was completed by 3415 RACP trainees (approximately 43 per cent response rate).

The RACP results are generally consistent with previous years, including favourable results in key areas of medical training. Approximately 80 per cent of RACP respondents reported they would recommend their current training position to other doctors and their current workplace as a place to train. Clinical supervision was rated highly, with 87 per cent of RACP trainees considering it to be of excellent or good quality. These results are on par with the 2020 findings, and the sustained positive results in these areas represent a significant achievement in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic adversely affected medical training in the states and territories worst hit by the pandemic and had a mixed impact in other regions, with an overall 44 per cent of RACP trainees reporting a negative impact.

Despite substantial disruptions to examinations throughout 2021, we were pleased that survey results improved in most areas related to examinations. Overall, however, there is still room for improvement and we will continue to progress this critical work.

The concerningly high prevalence of bullying, harassment, and discrimination reported in previous years was sustained in 2021, with over one in five RACP trainees reporting they had experienced it and one in three reporting they had witnessed it. Doctors continue to be identified as the main perpetrators. In late 2021, the RACP convened the Safe Training Environments Summit, which commenced development of a strategic approach to tackling bullying, harassment, and discrimination in physician training environments.

Over the coming months, the MTS results will be considered by the RACP Board and key committees with a view to developing an action plan based on the findings. We wish to thank our trainees for providing their valuable feedback and encourage trainees’ continually strong participation in this survey.

All MTS results are available online through the data dashboard published on the Medical Training Survey website.

The Medical Board of Australia encourages everyone interested in medical training to access and read the MTS results, create their own tailored report using the interactive data dashboard, and apply the rich MTS dataset to continually improve medical training.

New Cultural Safety Curated Collection

The new Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori Cultural Safety Curated Collection is designed to support physicians in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand to provide more impactful, meaningful, culturally safe care for Indigenous patients, their families, whānau and communities. The Collection presents a detailed library of resources that can help you understand and implement culturally safe practices in your workplace. Filter the library by theme, country, resource type and level of experience to find the resources most relevant to you. We encourage you to revisit this Curated Collection as you develop your understanding of cultural safety over time and consider how this can shape your practice.

Don’t forget to claim CPD credits for time spent on RACP Online Learning.

Enrol in the Quality and Safety Spaced Learning course

Spaces are limited, with the course commencing late April

Trainees and Fellows of all specialties can be leaders in advocating for and improving quality and safety. The upcoming Quality and Safety Spaced Learning course will be delivered via Qstream and consists of three short case studies with 12 questions. Participants will receive case studies directly to their inbox and can complete them at a time that suits them over a four-week period.

The cases are designed to support you to identify quality and safety concerns, learn practical approaches to overcome these issues, and facilitate self-reflection and peer discussion. Participants are encouraged to discuss the case studies and share opinions with others through secure, online discussion forums.

At the conclusion of the course, participants will also receive a toolkit of useful resources to support their ongoing learning. RACP CPD participants can earn CPD credits for the time they spend on this course.

Enrol now

RACP staff member wins digital health award

Carol Pizzuti, PhD student at Sydney University, has won the Digital Health Week 2022 award for best presentation in the Health Information Seeking and eHealth Education stream titled The role of regulators and professional regulations in fostering the use of electronic health data to strengthen Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for medical practitioners.

Carol’s PhD is through the College’s partnership with the Digital Health CRC on the Practice Analytics project, which allows the College to be at the forefront of innovation in medical education and digital health. Congratulations, Carol.

Internal Medicine Journal

The February 2022 issue of the Internal Medicine Journal is now live on the RACP website (log in using your RACP login credentials).You can now access full journal issues as PDFs using the link to the digital editions on this page. You can also access articles tweeted on IMJ's Twitter account for free for a limited time. This month’s Editor's Choice is original article titled Social distancing and bacteraemia in the time of COVID-19.

Highlights include:

  • Machine learning to predict hospital inpatient LOS
  • An abnormal left ventricular contractile reserve
  • Oral health and cardiometabolic disease
  • NSW Cannabis Advisory Service
  • The Dead Donor Rule
  • Nephrology Advanced Training and Regional Victoria Physician Subspecialty Training and Workforce.

Read now

Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health

The early-view of the February 2022 edition of the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health is now live on the Wiley Online Library website.

Highlights include:

  • Characteristics, management and changing incidence of children with empyema in a paediatric intensive care unit
  • Rare annular rash in a newborn
  • Exclusive enteral nutrition: An optimal care pathway for use in children with active luminal Crohn's disease
  • Chikungunya encephalopathy and pneumonia in a young infant presenting with septic shock
  • Exploring the needs and coping strategies of New Zealand parents in the neonatal environment
  • Controlled inhalation improves central and peripheral deposition in cystic fibrosis patients with moderate lung disease
  Read now
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