The President's Message – 27 September 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.
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. As a medical college, our core responsibility is to train the next generation of physicians and paediatricians and to maintain the highest standard throughout our careers. But advocacy to improve the health of our patients and communities is also an important College activity.
Australia, at 82.9 years, and Aotearoa New Zealand, at 81.7 years – life expectancies, are ranked highly by the World Health Organization at seventh and 16th in the world respectively.
Yet these data don’t tell the whole story. There remain significant health inequities with remote Indigenous people in Australia, having a 16-years shorter life expectancy than the general population. Māori life expectancy is eight years shorter than the general population. In my own field of intellectual disability, the preventable premature mortality is at least 20-years shorter. We can do better.
In 2022, our College developed a five-year policy and advocacy plan. This not only speaks to what we will focus on, but also how we will advocate. We will centre your voice and your role in our influence and engage with consumers, including our own Consumer Advisory Group.
We will use the lens of the Quadruple Aims that acknowledges the importance of the health and wellbeing of our workforce. And we will focus on issues that you have told us are important. These include Indigenous health, climate change, priority populations and health reform.
I want to share just some of what we’ve been doing over the last busy few months – advocacy that you may not necessarily be aware of. We have engaged heavily with Australia’s new Federal Government to set the College up as a trusted advisor, including meeting with the Minister for Health, Mark Butler, and the Australian Protection Principal Committee.
We have also met with several MPs who are members of our College, who hold important roles in the government, such as Dr Mike Freelander. We’ve been meeting with Australia’s Departments of Health, Education and the Treasury. We have advocated for the reinstatement of telehealth item numbers, the National Medicines Policy, COVID-19 vaccinations for children, and silicosis.
Aotearoa has focused on its #makeitthenorm campaign to address socioeconomic determinants of health. We also speak to the importance of new models of integrated care that better address the needs of those with chronic or complex health problems.
As a paediatrician, I am very proud that we are leading the Kids COVID Catch Up campaign. The pandemic led to setbacks for our children, and we are aiming to help our kids get back on track. Our recommendations include a National Chief Paediatrician, restricting marketing of unhealthy diets to children and funding the National Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy.
Hundreds of RACP members, with other health professionals and parents signed up to support us, and it worked. The Minister for Health, committed to a rapid review of support for children with disability in schools. In addition, the Government committed to improving mental health support in schools as part of a $440 million package.
Climate change is a major risk to our healthcare system. Yet our health system itself contributes seven per cent of our carbon emissions, higher than many other countries. We’re calling on political leaders to create a climate-ready and climate-friendly healthcare system through our Healthy Climate Future campaign.
We joined forces with ten other medical colleges, amounting to 100,000 medical specialists across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, to review research on the impacts of climate change on the health system. Thank you to those who recently completed our climate change survey to help guide our future work. To those of you who haven't, please complete the Healthy Climate Future survey by 30 September.
With the Victorian election around the corner, there is still time to act. Your College is calling all paediatricians and child health physicians working in Victoria to complete a short 10-minute survey. It will ask you how COVID-19 has impacted healthcare for children and young people. Please help us drive change by completing the survey before 30 September.
I want to thank CPAC (College Policy and Advocacy Committee) for its leadership. We recently welcomed an enthusiastic trainee to the College Policy and Advocacy Executive Committee, a first for this very busy committee. Speaking up and driving change is who we are as physicians and paediatricians.
I ask you to join me in driving change. Together, we can make a difference.
Dr Jacqueline Small
To contact the President, email email@example.com
Advanced Trainees and New Fellows are invited to the National New Fellows' Online Forum, which will be held on Thursday, 13 October 2022. This interactive and informative forum is your chance to learn about all the things you need to know when entering Fellowship.
The following sessions will be included alongside a welcome to Fellowship by Dr Jacqueline Small, RACP President, and an introduction to Dr Kudzai Kahutu, the new College Dean:
- Fellowship, what’s next? What I wish I knew when I was new: A Fellow’s perspective
- Medical indemnity: Things you need to know as a Fellow
- CPD, what changes now you're a Fellow?
- Q&A for the panel of speakers
Join us on Thursday, 13 October 2022 at 7pm to 8.30pm (AEDT) / 6pm to 7.30pm (AEST) / 6.30pm to 8pm (ACST) / 4pm to 5.30pm (AWST) / 9pm to 10.30pm (NZDT).
We have launched a survey for health professionals about the climate resilience of the healthcare system. We want to hear from you about your experiences of climate change impacts to health services, as well as about positive initiatives to make our health system more climate friendly.
Your comments will help generate media coverage, social media content and interest from Members of Parliament in advocating to the Australian Federal Government to progress its commitment to a National Climate, Health and Wellbeing Strategy.
Please share your views on the environmental sustainability and climate resilience of our healthcare system. The survey will take approximately 10 minutes and only de-identified data will be used.
Hurry, the survey closes Friday, 30 September 2022.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted health care for children and young people?
We are advocating for children and young people to help them recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. With the Victorian state election coming up in November, we need your input. Victorian paediatricians and child health physicians working in Victoria, please complete an important survey. It gives you the opportunity to share your insights. The survey is following our Kids COVID Catch Up campaign we are calling on Victorian leaders to commit to a package of policy activities to help our younger generations.
From mental health impacts to disrupted education, we know that children and young people did it tough during COVID-19 and have largely been forgotten in Australia’s recovery measures. Victorians experienced long lock downs and many restrictions, and we want to hear from you about the impact this had and what needs to be done to support young people and their families.
Do you want to see more investment in mental health? What strategies are needed to reduce childhood obesity? Does Victoria need a COVID-19 recovery plan?
The results of this survey will help shape our advocacy and ensure the most critical issues are raised and have a platform. By providing an insight into the experiences of you and your patients, we can ensure that your voice is reflected in our discussions with the Government and key stakeholders.
Please take 10 minutes to complete this important survey now. It closes Friday, 30 September 2022.
The updated 2022 COVID-19 interim changes are now available in the Basic Training and Advanced Training PREP handbooks.
Trainees are required to complete the full 2022 requirements for their training program where possible. Trainees who are unable to complete training program requirements due to COVID-19 should review the education and training changes and interim requirements listed in their training program handbook, and advise the training committee overseeing their training as soon as possible.
Thank you to those who have completed their Physician Training Survey or Medical Training Survey. Both surveys close on Saturday, 8 October 2022. Don’t miss your opportunity to share your recent physician training experiences.
Your feedback provides the RACP, training settings, and specialty committees insights to help strengthen training.
- help identify and address wellbeing issues
- provide training settings with data to encourage and focus improvement
- inform training setting accreditation activities.
Physician Training Survey
If you are a trainee in Aotearoa New Zealand or an educator in Australia or Aotearoa New Zealand, complete your anonymous survey via the unique link sent from our research provider Big Village.
Information about the survey is available on the Physician Training Survey webpage.
Medical Training Survey
If you are a trainee in Australia, your anonymous Medical Training Survey can be accessed following your online re-registration process with the Medical Board of Australia. Visit the Medical Training Survey page for more information.
For information about the survey, visit the Physician Training Survey or the Medical Training Survey webpages or contact the Training Survey team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any concerns or complaints about the conduct of the research study, you may contact the Executive Officer of the Ethics Committee, at SLHDemail@example.com or on +61 2 9767 5622.
*The Physician Training Survey has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) – Concord Repatriation General Hospital of the Sydney Local Health District 2019/ETH12472.
The medical assessment of fitness to drive is a matter on which the College regularly contributes expert advice. The College recently provided a submission to the ACT with feedback on a draft framework relating to the planned mandatory reporting of certain patient conditions by health practitioners regarding a person’s ability to drive a heavy vehicle safely.
The framework and associated legislation are intended to reduce road trauma by identifying at-risk drivers on ACT roads. The College submission, based on member input, documents evidence-based concerns and describes reasons for being cautious on introducing mandatory reporting. The College submission includes consideration of alternatives and proposes further discussion on the legislation with stakeholders.
The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) with support from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Office for Women is continuing its multi-year scholarship program to support emerging and experienced female directors in regional, rural and remote Australia. These scholarships are being administered by the Australian Scholarships Foundation.
The program will provide opportunities for suitably qualified women from different backgrounds who face additional barriers to education and leadership participation.
The AICD welcomes applicants who reflect the diversity of Australia’s population and encourages Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, culturally diverse women, women with disability and those in the not-for-profit sector to apply.
Episode 85: The ASD Odyssey: A reply
The National Guideline for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Australia aspires to streamline referral pathways so that children can get the right help as early as possible. But despite the best intentions of many clinicians, there are drivers in the health system that make implementation difficult. There are constraints in the way specialists can be reimbursed for time spent managing a case through the diagnostic process. And the extent of developmental disorders in the community may not be reflected in the depth of training in this area. We also hear about some breaking research into a highly accurate diagnostic screening tool that could reveal just how prevalent ASD is in the community.
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.
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.
The ROC (RACP Online Community) is a secure online forum and series of communities exclusively for all RACP Fellows and trainees. If you haven’t used this type of platform before, think of it as a virtual town hall for the entire College and a series of different online common rooms for different Divisions, Faculties and Chapters. Download the app from the App Store or Google Play, or log in via MyRACP.
You can also use the Member Directory in The ROC to connect with your peers.
Log in to The ROC
Meet our SPDP Facilitator, Dr Rod McClure
Dr Rod McClure is a firm supporter of the Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP). He graduated MBBS from the University of Sydney and spent 10 years in clinical and public health practice and was awarded a PhD in Epidemiology and Population Health. He is also a current Fellow of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine (AFPHM). Find out more about Dr McClure’s experience as an SPDP facilitator.
Register for a virtual, face-to-face, or online SPDP workshop. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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