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RACGP NSW&ACT newsletter

2 October 2018

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Changes to the PLAN activity
As I am sure you all know, September saw the announcement on crucial changes to the PLAN activity. In response to member feedback, RACGP Council decided to make PLAN an optional Category 1 Quality Improvement and Continuing Professional Development (QI&CPD) activity for the remainder of the current triennium, rather than a compulsory activity.

The RACGP remains committed to having members undertake a CPD that aligns with self-reflection on current knowledge gaps for the patients we personally care for. PLAN remains a useful tool to support you with undertaking structured reflection regarding your patients and your skill set, but for anybody preferring a less formal approach to a CPD activity, this is now an acceptable option for this triennium. If you wish to continue with your PLAN activity, you will generate the same number of QI&CPD points as you have in the past. 

As always, our staff remains committed to support and assist any members who have commenced PLAN and wish to complete the activity so that they may obtain their QI&CPD points.

NSW&ACT New Fellows Committee
On a social note, the NSW&ACT New Fellows Committee has been busy organising a series of get-togethers at interesting places around Sydney. Last month’s function was held at the Arthouse in the CBD and the next event will be held at Camperdown Commons on Saturday 1 December. The next New Fellows Connect series event will be based on cosmetic surgery. There will be special activities for members’ children, so feel free to bring them along. 

PHN masterclasses
Our faculty is continuing to develop educational partnerships – we are very pleased to announce that we have teamed up with the ACT PHN – Capital Health Networks to deliver a series of masterclasses to be held in Canberra in the coming year. The first event attracted over 60 local GPs. We look forward to rolling out equally interesting masterclasses over the coming months. For information regarding future sessions, please visit the RACGP website.

OSCE examiners
As we gear up for the second round of OSCE exams for our general practice registrars, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the GPs who have been involved in online and face-to-face training. Also, a warm welcome to our new cohort of examiners. Examiners are vital to the smooth functioning of the examinations period and, each year, they do a wonderful job ushering in a new generation of GPs. We look forward to your work over the coming months.

‘Just a GP’ podcasts
Finally, I would like to invite any members who enjoy podcasts to get an earful of the newly launched ‘Just a GP’ podcast. This series of podcasts has been put together by GPs as part of an initiative of this faculty overseen by Dr Ash Broomfield, Dr Bek Hoffman and myself.  The first episode is available online and we look forward to releasing more episodes of the series each week.

For anybody lucky enough to be going to GP18, I look forward to potentially meeting up with you over the three days of the conference. Please make the time to come along to the Annual General Meeting and convocation session to participate in the important member conversations.

Chair message

Message from NSW&ACT Chair, Assoc Prof Charlotte Hespe

  • Changes to the PLAN activity
  • NSW&ACT New Fellows Committee
  • PHN masterclasses
  • OSCE examiners
  • 'Just a GP' podcast
  • GP18 

Learning and development

Upcoming events

Event Date Location QI&CPD points
Advance care directives and the law Wednesday 17 October Online 2 Category 2
Congenital CMV – Common and commonly missed Tuesday 23 October Online 2 Category 2
Masterclasses in Canberra: Ears, nose and throat Saturday 27 October Canberra 8 Category 2
Managing patients on PrEP in general practice (Part 3) Tuesday 30 October Online 2 Category 2
Integrative approaches to women's health Saturday 17 November Westmead 40 Category 1
Starting a private practice – Kingscliff Saturday 24 November Kingscliff 12 Category 2
CPR course for GPs – North Sydney Tuesday 27 November North Sydney 5 Category 2
Skin cancer essentials Saturday 8 December Tamworth 40 Category 1
Introduction to point-of-care ultrasound Sunday 9 December Tamworth 40 Category 1

NSW&ACT news and events

Announcing the Eric Fisher Award recipient

The Eric Fisher Award was established to acknowledge a newly ratified Fellow committed to the wellbeing and self-care of themselves and their colleagues. The candidates were all deserving; however, the winning recipient was Dr Nishad Gamage from Boggabri, NSW.

Dr Gamage’s nomination was accompanied by testimonies from doctors, nurses, Local Health District staff, his practice manager and patients. It was wonderful to hear about his work and how he supports his community. Dr Gamage will be honoured alongside other award recipients at the Sydney Fellowship Ceremony.

Outgoing board member interviews

Our NSW&ACT Board members are a wonderful resource both from the work they’ve done for the RACGP and in their experiences as GPs in their careers! Each upcoming newsletter will now feature a brief profile of your outgoing and incoming board members to connect you to them as colleagues and share their reflections on the wonderful world of general practice. 

This month, we interviewed Dr Peter Purches and Dr John Kramer:

Dr Peter Purches

Which region do you represent?
Northern Beaches.

How long have you practiced as a GP?
40 years this year.

Why did you choose / why do you enjoy general practice?
I chose general practice, because after a heart operation a week after my final exams, I reprioritised my goals to doing all the things I had enjoyed as a student, and did my residency years at Hornsby Hospital with the GP Training Scheme, and the Hornsby Hospital Training Practice under Dr Albert Himmelhoch. My first experience of general practice was three weeks in West Wyalong where I did a locum in my annual leave. I subsequently returned there after obstetric training and had 20 years in rural practice before moving to Northern Beaches. I have enjoyed the variety of work from working in a small rural community to working in aged care, to suburban general practice and always still being able to be involved in hospital work in each role. I have enjoyed the collaboration and friendships with colleagues.

What is your most extraordinary experience as a doctor?
I think the day my friend and mentor, Dr Craig Lillienthal, left West Wyalong and I suddenly found myself with about six new titles, including Government Medical Officer (post-mortems and other duties), Commonwealth Medical Officer, Designated Aviation Medical Officer (examining pilots, which is the only job I still hold!) and Army Area Medical Officer among others. I certainly had to learn on the job.

What do you think the biggest future threat to general practice is?
I think remuneration of GPs is a big factor in recruiting newly graduated doctors to general practice. Different funding models are put forward, but there is no enthusiasm for paying GPs appropriately.

Any other comments?
The reason we start a job like general practice is not always the reason we carry on with it, and that is certainly the case for me. I have enjoyed every phase of my working life and it seems to have changed quite markedly every 10 years or so, from the hands-on years in isolated rural general practice to the last decade when I still have a remarkable variety of tasks in each and every day. I think the maxim 'interesting things happen to interested doctors' is very true.

Dr John Kramer

Which region do you represent?
North Coast.

How long have you practiced as a GP? 
37 years.

Why did you choose/why do you enjoy general practice?

  • Never wanted to do anything else
  • Being part of a community is wonderful
  • Cradle-to-grave care

What is your most extraordinary experience as a doctor? 
Having a baby born at our surgery at 25 weeks gestation, she survived and thrived, came back 16 years later for work experience.

What do you think the biggest future threat to general practice is? 
Several big ones, including:

  • corporatisation
  • fragmentation of primary care
  • ignorance among specialists, health bureaucrats, politicians about just what we do/can do
  • ongoing reliance on bulk-billing.

Any other comments? 
It’s been enjoyable.

New Fellows Connect: Cosmetic medicine

Family-friendly meeting at Camperdown Commons

Saturday 1 December

The New Fellows Committee would like to invite all members to the New Fellows Connect event. This day will include an interesting presentation on cosmetic surgery, an optional urban farm tour followed by drinks and canapés.

This event has been designed by New Fellows to facilitate greater community networking for all NSW GPs in a family-friendly environment at the Camperdown Commons. A great day for the whole family. 

Find out more or register now

Camperdown Commons

A weekend of ALMs in Tamworth

Skin cancer essentials – Saturday 8 December 2018

Learn how to assess and manage skin cancers from the specialists. This hands-on workshop has been designed for GPs and registrars who have minimal skin cancer experience, but have a growing demand for their skills in this area. This workshop has been approved for a one-day Surgery grant.

Find out more about the workshop or register now.

Introduction to point-of-care ultrasound for GPs – Sunday 9 December 2018

Discover the applications of point-of-care ultrasound in general practice in a hands-on workshop for registrars and GPs. This ALM has been developed in response to a growing interest in ultrasound and an increased accessibility to portable ultrasound equipment. Participants will gain an increase in their understanding of the applications of point-of-care ultrasound as a diagnostic tool.

A team of experienced GPs and ultrasound experts will guide participants through a series of practical sessions with equipment provided by Sonosite.

Find out more or register now.

National news and events

Rural Health Workforce Drought Initiative

The drought has placed increasing pressures, professional and personal, on the health workforce across New South Wales and Queensland.

The New South Wales Rural Doctors Network (NSW RDN) has launched the Rural Health Workforce Drought Initiative to support rural health professionals and encourage self-care, while they look after drought-stricken communities.

The Rural Health Workforce Drought Initiative centralises information for service support for health professionals. At the same time, the campaign aims to ensure that the rural health workforce has the resources it needs to support the farmers and their families experiencing the drought.

The Rural Health Workforce Drought website contains information and resources in one easily accessible location. In addition to messages of support, the website offers a range of supports for health professionals and also provides drought-specific resources for patients.

The initiative is also available on Twitter via #RuralHealthTogether

Rural hospital clinical simulation ALM

7.45 am – 3.45 pm, Wednesday 10 October 2018

RACGP Rural is pleased to offer the 'Rural hospital clinical simulation' ALM at Bond University, as part of the RACGP annual conference – GP18. Participants have the opportunity to take part in seven simulated scenarios. The six-hour ALM will have a strong emphasis on emergency medicine skills, doctor self-care, coordinating and communicating with other healthcare professionals, stress management and debriefing skills.

The ALM will take place at the Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine at Bond University in Robina. A charter bus will be available between the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre (GCCEC) and Bond University.

This ALM is accredited for 40 Category 1 QI&CPD points. It is also eligible for a one-day rural procedural grant for anybody eligible in either of the Emergency Medicine, Anaesthesia, or Obstetrics components.

View the flyer for more information or register now

Are your emergency skills up to date?

Places are still available in the Clinical Emergency Management Program (CEMP) Intermediate and Advanced workshops to beheld in Newcastle. The program is designed to increase your confidence in stabilising a patient in the first 30 minutes of an emergency.

CEMP Intermediate
8.30 am – 5.00 pm, Friday 30 November.
Register now.

CEMP Advanced
8.30 am – 5.00 pm, Saturday and Sunday 1–2 December.
Register now.

CEMP workshops are eligible for funding via the Rural Procedural Grants Program.

For more information, visit the CEMP website, email or call the RACGP National Events team on 03 8699 0557.

NSW Health updates

NSW Private Health Facilities Regulation 2018 – Cosmetic surgery

The NSW Private Health Facilities Act 2007 (the Act) requires certain surgical cosmetic procedures to be performed in licensed private health facilities. The relevant procedures are those listed in the definition of cosmetic surgery in the NSW Private Health Facilities Regulation 2017 (the Regulation). From 2017, it is an offence under the Act to conduct an unlicensed private health facility in NSW that provides any such cosmetic surgery.

In May 2018, the Act was amended to also make it an offence to perform services or treatments prescribed in the Regulation in an unlicensed private health facility. This amendment, which introduced a new s33A into the Act, followed Recommendation 1 of the Report on the Review of the Regulation of Cosmetic Procedures. As stated in the Second Reading Speech for the bill to introduce s33A, the new offence was intended to ‘ensure that the practitioners performing cosmetic surgery are responsible for checking that the facility they are operating in is licensed, as well as safely performing the procedure'.

From 17 September 2018, cosmetic surgery will be prescribed in the Regulation as a class of services or treatments for the purpose of the new offence in s33A of the Act. It will, therefore, be an offence, attracting a maximum penalty of up to $55,000, to perform cosmetic surgery in an unlicensed private health facility. As such, there will be an onus on persons performing cosmetic surgery to check that the facility they are operating in is licensed as required under the Act. This can be done by searching the list of currently licensed private health facilities on the NSW Health website. The Regulation also requires licensed private health facilities to display a copy of their licence in the entrance foyer.

If you would like to discuss this matter or require any further information, please email or call 9424 5863.

External news and events

A study of access to and the effectiveness of dietetic services for people with type 2 diabetes

We are seeking GPs interested in helping us evaluate the current status of dietetic services available to people with type 2 diabetes.

The majority of people with type 2 diabetes do not receive adequate diet consultation. We would like your opinion. The interview will take about 20 minutes and is conducted by PhD student, Georgios Siopis, at the University of Sydney. You will receive a $20 reimbursement for your time.

Please email to participate in the telephone interview at a convenient time.

Life insurance opportunity

TAL, Australia’s leading life insurance specialist, is seeking experienced GPs to join a discussion forum relating to mental health in the life insurance sector. This group will meet on a quarterly basis with the aim to improve customer experience, especially in relation to mental health issues across all aspects of the business.

Remuneration: $500 per hour (approximately two hours per quarter)
Location: 363 George St, Sydney NSW 2000

If you are enthusiastic about being part of a forum and are seeking genuine improvement opportunities in the mental health space, please email Glenn Baird, Head of Mental Health or call 02 9996 8213.

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