The President's Message – 29 March 2022

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. The deaths of civilians, innocent men, women and children, and the deliberate targeting of hospitals, of patients, pregnant women and the elderly has been very distressing indeed for all of us.

In particular, many I'm sure, feel great empathy and sadness for our Ukrainian medical peers working under terrible conditions trying to treat seriously injured with no resources and no protection.

At senior levels, the international medical community is small – and recently I received an email from Professor Vasyl Netiazhenko, a cardiologist in Kyiv. He's a member of the International Society of Internal Medicine and he’s asked us to help provide medical care for victims of hostilities in his country.

You will no doubt be aware of the humanitarian aid the Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand Governments have now sent to Ukraine. I’m sure many of us wish if we could directly help, we would, but it’s an extraordinarily dangerous war zone and both Governments have advised against travel there. Please don't do that.

I’ve written back to Professor Netiazhenko saying “please know that we stand in absolute solidarity with you and your colleagues and that we deplore and condemn the actions of Russian invadors.”

In the meantime, I encourage you to consider making donations to an appropriate charity of your choice that is best able to assist Ukrainians on the ground.

Now, to an administrative issue, voting is open until close of business on 13 April for the College elections. Positions are open for President-Elect, Trainee Director and Chapter Committees. If you go to our website, and log in using your login details, you’ll find a banner that links to the voting portal. Make sure you log in using the correct postcode that you've registered with the College. The portal also has candidate statements which are refreshed each week. Please look at those. You can change your vote if you need to.

If you have questions you want to ask candidates, you can post them in the ROC, and we will forward them to the candidates, and invite them to respond. Unfortunately, we can’t directly invite candidates to reply on the ROC, as this could breach election rules around use of College resources on campaigning.

I encourage you to vote and have your say in the future of our College.

Professor John Wilson AM
RACP President

Climate change open letter

Led by RACP, 10 medical colleges, representing more than 100,000 doctors have come together to in an open letter to federal political leaders, calling for a climate-ready and climate-friendly healthcare system. 

The open letter builds on the research report published last year, which found Australia’s healthcare systems were not prepared to respond to the challenges of climate change. Read the letter, which was shared by a number of high-profile medical professionals on social media.

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RACP Congress 2022

Equity, wellbeing, and leadership highlighted in shared sessions

RAC2329_Congress_2022_MARCOMS_POSTS_V3_RACP_Congress_2022_IG_FB_2_BIn these pressured times, it can be easy to neglect areas where we need to focus for the improvement of our communities. In this climate for change, RACP Congress brings you a series of sessions looking at issues that directly impact the healthcare community.

Join us for a session on gender equity in medicine and then follow it up with the women in medicine luncheon. In the wellbeing of doctors, we explore how often caring for others can come at the expense of our own health and what we can do to change this. Leadership is also placed in focus in a session on leadership and why it matters.

Explore the program

In-person workshops seats filling fast

For those attending RACP Congress and wishing to join any of the in-person workshops, time is running out to register. With a limited number of seats, the sessions have been specifically requested by members and include such sessions as:

  • Making change happen: Advocacy & campaigning workshop
  • Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP) 1, 2,3
  • Media spokesperson essentials
  • Presentation skills

To take part in any, or all of these workshops, secure your place when you register for RACP Congress.

Secure your ticket

Want to join us in-person but worried about COVID-19?

Maintaining the health and safety of our members and the community has always been at the forefront of our minds we are constantly monitoring the local COVID-19 situation and health requirements. All venues will adhere to the latest advice and requirements to ensure the safest environment for all. For more information, please visit the RACP Congress FAQ page and read the COVID-safe event webpage.

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Advocating to raise the age of criminal responsibility

To mark Close the Gap Day, RACP issued a media release reiterating our support for the Raise the Age Campaign, which received high-profile media coverage, including in the Sydney Morning Herald, that was also syndicated to the Brisbane Times and WAtoday. We also had mentions in The Monthly and Marie Claire, as well as the NTNews. Further to this, Dr Creati completed an interview (Ultra 106Five) and some radio grabs (2GB  2SM  4KQ Brisbane). The story was shared on social media by prominent organisations including the Human Rights Law Centre and Save the Children.

The RACP is calling on all Australian states and territories to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 14 years. Currently the age of criminal responsibility in most Australian states and territories is 10 years which means that primary school aged children are being imprisoned.

Aboriginal children are disproportionately affected. RACP spokesperson and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Committee Chair, Professor Ngiare Brown, has told the media that around six hundred children under the age of fourteen are incarcerated annually. About two-thirds of these children are Indigenous.

The RACP’s call to raise the age of criminal responsibility is informed by two kinds of medical evidence. Children under 14 are too neurodevelopmentally immature to make decisions for which they are criminally responsible, and the consequences of incarcerating young children are so pronounced and harmful.

Along with other medical and First Nations experts, Professor Brown has spoken to the media about the profoundly detrimental and the long-term effects youth incarceration has on the physical and psychological health and wellbeing of children.

RACP spokesperson and paediatrician, Dr. Mick Creati, has elaborated on the need for change. He has identified that more must be done to ensure children are not incarcerated for behaviours that are a direct consequence of their young age, their disability or their earlier trauma. These children should be provided with the care, support and treatment that they need and that preserves their dignity and human rights.

Ongoing College advocacy on telehealth and other system reform priorities in lead up to Federal Budget 2022-23

As outlined in a recent media release, the College is continuing its advocacy for the permanent reinstatement of telehealth phone MBS services in the lead up to the Federal Budget 2022-23. We continue to stress to the Government that the permanent reinstatement of these MBS items is essential to ensure equitable access to specialist care for patients in rural and remote areas, those living with disability, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other people who may have limitations in travelling or accessing video technology.

For more information about the College’s advocacy priorities in the lead up to the Federal Budget, you can access the College’s Pre-Budget Submission 2022-23: Delivering a Future-Focused Health System for Equitable Care and Healthier Communities which focuses on seven priority areas:

  • Boosting the COVID-19 response, recovery and preparedness system
  • Delivering integrated and innovative health care to improve access and quality including through telehealth
  • Building an appropriately funded and safe medical specialist workforce
  • Closing the gap on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health
  • Prioritising children and young people’s recovery from the setbacks of COVID-19
  • Strengthening support for preventive health
  • Making our health system low-carbon and climate resilient

In addition, keep an eye out for the College’s Federal Election Statement and campaign which will be launched soon.

2021 progress report to the Australian Medical Council and Te Kaunihera Rata o Aotearoa Medical Council of New Zealand

Our 2021 Progress Report to the Australian Medical Council and the Te Kaunihera Rata o Aotearoa Medical Council of New Zealand was submitted on 15 September 2021. The annual progress report, available on our website, is a requirement for ongoing accreditation of our training and professional development programs.

After a successful 2020 Comprehensive Report our accreditation was extended until March 2025 at which time, we will undergo a full re-accreditation of our training and professional development programs.

I encourage you to review our key achievements this year including the implementation of our new Basic Training program across nine early adopter sites, continued improved support and resources for our members and progress in the phased development of the new Advanced Training curricula. Despite the ongoing disruption of COVID-19, the AMC and MCNZ have noted good overall progress has been made against most standards.

New Evolve case studies: Medication related harm

To support the implementation of Evolve recommendations in clinical practice, we have launched a series of case studies exploring a clinical scenario based on one of the Evolve recommendations on low-value care. Dr Chris Cameron has led the development of a new case study about medication related harm. Check out these new case studies today.

Help develop Evolve case studies

Evolve is seeking enthusiastic Fellows and trainees to partner with us in developing case studies for more specialties. The aim of the case studies is to support Fellows and trainees to build an understanding of low-value care within their specialty and act as a tool for clinical educators and supervisors. Email to get involved.

New Guiding principles for the governance of high-cost medicines in Australian hospitals

The Council of Australian Therapeutic Advisory Group (CATAG) has recently released the CATAG Guiding principles for the governance of high-cost medicines in Australian hospitals funded by the Australian Government Department of Health through the Value in Prescribing – Biological Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (bDMARDs) Program Grant.

The purpose of these Guiding Principles is to provide a principles based high level framework outlining national objectives to assist medicines governance committees, including Drugs and Therapeutics Committees (DTCs), to assess and make good decisions about the quality use of high-cost medicines. The objectives of these Guiding Principles are to promote:

  • a fair process and equity of access to high-cost medicines in public hospitals;
  • the assessment of high-cost medicines using the best available evidence;
  • the cost-effective utilisation of medicines within the public hospital system; and
  • a reduction in the duplication of effort and fostering

This resource is applicable to all health service organisations and individuals wanting to deliver robust governance of medicines processes. consistent and efficient decision making.

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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.

AHPRA pandemic response sub-register coming to a close

A huge thank you to Fellows who joined the AHPRA sub-register and returned to practice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We appreciate your sacrificial care for our community through these challenging times.

The pandemic response sub-register will expire on 5 April 2022. If you have been in touch with AHPRA and renewed your specialist registration past this date, you will have a CPD requirement for 2022. Please see the 2022 MyCPD Framework for details and contact the CPD Team at if you have any questions.

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