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RACGP Queensland newsletter

30 August 2018

Chair report

Message from Dr Bruce Willett, RACGP Queensland Chair

Parliamentary inquiry into the establishment of a Queensland pharmacy council

The Queensland Parliamentary inquiry into a pharmacy council, ownership and scope of practice kicked off on Monday 20 August. There are five public hearings scheduled and the committee is due to report back to Parliament on Sunday 30 September 2018.


The Pharmacy Guild is lobbying for pharmacists to have the ability to write repeat prescriptions. RACGP Queensland has made a submission to the inquiry that strongly opposes pharmacists writing prescriptions. It will fragment patient care and produce poorer outcomes, as well as putting pharmacists in a conflict of interest, or by receiving a pecuniary benefit from their writing the prescription.


The Pharmacy Guild makes regular representation to members of Parliament and the Department of Health and urges its members to do the same. The Parliamentary inquiry has received 210 submissions with almost 200 from pharmacies alone; it is most probable they have already briefed your local State Member of Parliament (MP). It is about time to have our voice heard. Please make an urgent request to talk to your local MP about this issue.


Please contact RACGP Queensland via email if you would like us to send you a one-page flyer to leave with your local MP – I recommend you use this.


RACGP Queensland Board elections

The Faculty Board elections have been conducted successfully again this month. I would like to thank all nominees up for election and even more so those who were not elected. I am grateful for the interest and enthusiasm shown for your involvement with RACGP Queensland. Visit the RACGP website to view the election results. The Faculty Board is an important instrument through which GPs can communicate their wishes to the RACGP. Please let us know your thoughts and also your ideas of where the RACGP should be heading.


North Queensland activities

RACGP Queensland is committed to continuously improving the number of member activities conducted outside the southeast corner. There are several important activities coming up, including the 2018.2 mock-OSCE exam prep in Cairns on Saturday 6 October 2018. More details below.


The active learning module (ALM) ‘Paediatric update for GPs’ is being held in Cairns on Saturday 17 November 2018. The ALM is targeted towards registrars, New Fellows and experienced GPs. More details below.


RACGP Queensland will continue to develop and deliver more activities for the entire state. If you have a particular idea for a member engagement, education activity or event, please let me know via email


Far North Queensland Roadshow

Continuing from my successful visit to Mackay and Townsville earlier this year, I will be visiting Cairns in September for a number of meetings with key stakeholders. While I am in the north, I am keen to catch up and chat with as many members as possible and hear about what is important to you, your practice and your local area. I will be hosting a casual ‘meet and greet’ get-together on Monday 17 September 2018, 5.30–7.00 pm at Salt House, a restaurant on the Cairns marina.


Please register by 10 September 2018 for catering purposes.

National Academic, Fellowship and Awards Ceremony

There were some technical problems with the invitation emails and, unfortunately, a small number of Queensland New Fellows did not receive their invitation to the National Academic, Fellowship and Awards Ceremony that will be held on Wednesday 10 October 2018 on the Gold Coast.


I would like to apologise for this problem and thank staff for their hard work in resolving the issue and ensuring every Queensland New Fellow (in the eligible date range) has the opportunity to attend this ceremony. Some invitations that were sent appeared to go missing. I suspect they were either deleted, unopened or went straight to email spam folders. I urge all registrars and New Fellows to open all correspondence from the RACGP and add the RACGP domain to the safe senders list of email clients to avoid this problem in the future.


For more information, email the RACGP National Events team via or call 1800 472 247.



Dr Bruce Willett

RACGP Queensland Chair

RACGP Queensland news and events

Calendar of events

PLAN ahead – PLAN support session

Wednesday 5 September


RACGP Queensland Annual Member Meeting

Friday 7 September


Cairns member meet and greet

Monday 17 September


Intermediate Clinical Emergency Management Program (CEMP)  

Tuesday 9 October

Gold Coast

Rural hospital clinical simulation

Wednesday 10 October

Gold Coast

National Fellowship and Awards Ceremony

Wednesday 10 October

Gold Coast


Thursday to Saturday 11–13 October

Gold Coast

CPR workshop

Tuesday 23 October


ALM – Paediatrics update for GPs

Saturday 17 November


CPR workshop

Tuesday 4 December


Do you need help with your PLAN activity?

The RACGP Queensland QI&CPD department is offering in-house, small group PLAN support sessions over the coming months. The next session will be held on Wednesday 5 September 2018 at the RACGP Queensland office. Register now.

If you are unable to attend an in-house session, short video tutorials are available for your convenience.

For more information, call the RACGP Queensland QI&CPD department on 07 3456 8944 or to book a one-on-one over-the-phone tutorial session. 

Annual Member Meeting and Awards Night

Friday 7 September 2018

The 2018 RACGP Queensland Member Meeting and Awards Night will be held at the RACGP Queensland office. Join us in celebrating RACGP Queensland’s achievements over the past 12 months.


Registration is complimentary; however, a formal RSVP is required for catering purposes.  Please complete your registration through the RACGP Queensland Events page. For more information, email

ALM: Paediatrics update for GPs in Cairns – Save the date

Saturday 17 November 2018

Thanks to the generosity of the ‘Dr Bruce Roberts Bequest’, the RACGP Queensland New Fellows Committee is pleased to be hosting the ‘Paediatrics update for GPs’ ALM in Cairns.

This ALM is aimed at registrars and New Fellows through to experienced GPs focusing on common paediatric presentations, such as:

  • dermatology for paediatrics
  • ophthalmology for children
  • sleep problems in childhood
  • common puberty presentations
  • developmental milestones.


Registrations will open on Monday 3 September 2018 and is complimentary for RACGP members (non-members: $360). Places are limited.

For more information, email the RACGP Queensland Events and Marketing team.

A message from Dr Lucy Ingram, RACGP Queensland New Fellows Committee Chair

Hello Queensland New Fellows,


A big thank you to everyone who participated and/or provided a donation to the QLD New Fellows team on the recent Bridge to Brisbane Fun Run. The team walked the five km leg to raise awareness and funding to support doctors’ mental health through the Doctors’ Health Advisory Service Queensland.

We hope to see many of you at GP18, the RACGP's national conference, on the Gold Coast from Wednesday 10 October 2018. I am particularly looking forward to congratulating the newest New Fellows into the fold at the National Academic, Fellowship and Awards Ceremony.

I will also look forward to meeting as many of you as possible at the ‘Paediatrics update for GPs’ ALM in Cairns on Saturday 17 November 2018.

Examination dates for 2018

2018.2 OSCE pre-exam workshop (Brisbane) 

Saturday 22 September 2018

2018.2 OSCE pre-exam workshop (Cairns)

Saturday 6 October 2018

2018.2 OSCE

Sunday 11 November 2018

If you are interested in becoming an examiner, the RACGP Queensland Examination team is interested in hearing from you now. Contributing to the RACGP examinations is a valuable accomplishment and offers the opportunity to earn QI&CPD points.


New examiners will need to complete training in September or October prior to the 2018.2 OSCE.


For more information, email or call 07 3456 8944. Alternatively, download and submit the application form.

National news and events

Need help completing PLAN? Video tutorials now available

To assist you in navigating the planning, learning and need (PLAN) activity, new instructional video tutorials have been created and are now available.

The videos will guide you through the PLAN process from the initial steps of logging in and accessing the tool to submitting your overall reflection.

View the tutorials

  1. Practice profile and self-assessment
  2. Prioritising your learning
  3. Peer review
  4. Identifying and completing learning
  5. Overall reflection and submitting PLAN


These short video tutorials are also available on the RACGP website.

If you require further assistance, view the PLAN user guide. Alternatively, contact the RACGP QI&CPD department on 1800 4RACGP | 1800 472 247. 

Acquire advanced mental health skills without leaving your practice

RACGP Rural is now taking registrations for the September intake of the Focussed Psychological Strategies Skills Training (FPS ST). This modular training will address a demonstrated need for GPs to extend their mental health skills in an accessible and flexible manner. The program blends online and peer-group learning in four modules and will take approximately 14 weeks to complete. Participants who successfully complete the program can apply for FPS provider status with Medicare and gain access to additional Medicare Benefits Schedule items for FPS services provided in their general practice.


A past participant offered the following feedback on the FPS ST: ‘This has been an invaluable activity and it has already helped in my everyday practice substantially. Living rurally, I don't think I would have had any other opportunity to learn these skills otherwise.’

The FPS ST is accredited for 120 Category 1 QI&CPD points and two Category 2 QI&CPD points. It has also been accredited by the General Practice Mental Health Standards Collaboration (GPMHSC) as an FPS skills training.

For more information, visit the RACGP website.

Advanced CEMP workshop – Gold Coast

Sunday and Monday 14–15 October 2018

Places are still available for the Advanced CEMP workshop being held in conjunction with GP18. This workshop is designed to teach you the skillset required to stabilise patients in the first 30 minutes of an emergency.

CEMP workshops are eligible for the Rural Procedural Grants Program.

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

RACGP Specific Interests

RACGP Specific Interests now has a resources page on the RACGP website, including recordings of past webinars, presentations slides, frequently asked questions, as well as policy and advocacy updates. 

This page will be updated regularly with relevant resources developed by the Specific Interests networks. 

For more information, visit the RACGP Specific Interests resources webpage.

Article pick*

Mitigating the ‘headache’ of managing headaches: A psychological consideration

The simple statement that headache presentations in primary care cause ‘headaches’ for most GPs encapsulates the often unspoken complexities most of us face when dealing with headaches.

Existing guidelines alert doctors to ‘red flags’, whose presence should trigger investigations or hospital referrals; however, lots of head imagings are still ordered even in their absence, contributing to the paltry 1–3% rate of significant finds following such scans.1 Doctor self-doubts and uncertainties (the real ‘headaches’ in managing headaches), along with medico-legal concerns and patient demands, may all be responsible for these.

A recent publication in the Oxford Journal, Family Practice, might help us reduce these ‘headaches’. The paper retrospectively analysed hundreds of primary headache presentations over a seven-year period in Australian general practice. The study found that (among other things) headache patients with established co-existing psychological illnesses (eg anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder) were not only more likely to be investigated with head imaging, but were also about 78% less likely to have explanatory intracranial findings from such scans (p=0.03).2

The reason for these intriguing findings is not clear (and further studies may be needed), but one wonders if patients in this subset inadvertently apply more pressures on their GPs, or if, by nature of psychological illnesses, their symptoms are unconsciously presented in ways that make doctors investigate, even if there were no ‘red flags’.

Having myself integrated these lessons into my clinical practice, my own ‘headaches’ in dealing with headaches have unsurprisingly lessened. In addition, unnecessary head imagings have been avoided and patient care has been optimised with the early involvement of third-party carers. Before ordering head imaging, I do quick psychological reviews (checking documented history or on-the-spot assessments) and consider these alongside the ‘red flags’.

This approach does not deny my patients who have psychological conditions access to head imaging if the criteria are met, but rather integrates evidence-based information that helps unmask masquerading contributors to headaches.

Apart from minimising the ‘headaches’ for GPs, this recommendation will also help mitigate unnecessary radiation exposures to patients.

1.             Pendick D. Most headache-related brain scans aren’t needed. 2014. Available at [Accessed 11 August, 2018.]

2.             Ifediora CO. Insights into radiographic investigations for headaches in general practice. Family Practice. 2018:cmx136-cmx136.


This article was submitted by Dr Christian Ifediora, practicing GP and Senior Lecturer at Griffith University School of Medicine, Gold Coast.  

Research corner

The RACGP Queensland Research Support Committee coordinates the ‘Article pick’ segment. We are looking for contributors for 2018. Please submit your article pick or send any queries about contributing to Queensland Research Support

*Please note, the opinions expressed by 'Article pick' authors may not reflect the opinions of the RACGP.

External news and events*

James Cook University – GP assistance required to select future doctors

James Cook University (JCU) has a mandate to supply the workforce needs for rural, remote and Indigenous Australia. Interviews are being conducted to enable the medical school to select applicants that are most suited to JCU’s Bachelor of Medicine / Bachelor of Surgery course. Each interview panel has academic, clinician, and community representative.


Interview sessions span approximately five hours (including breaks) in the morning and/or afternoon from Tuesday to Friday 27–30 November 2018, Monday to Thursday 3–6 December 2018 and Friday 4 January 2019. The academic and community positions on the interview panels have been filled; however, JCU is seeking GPs to join interviews panels at all interview sessions.


While the interviewer role is a voluntary, JCU College of Medicine and Dentistry will support the cost of travel and accommodation to attend the medical selection interviews.


Interviewers must attend a training session before being placed on an interview panel. Training sessions are being held in the following locations:


  • Townsville – Wednesday 5 September 2018, Thursday 13 September 2018 and Wednesday 19 September 2018
  • Cairns – 12 September 2018
  • Mackay – 18 September 2018.


GPs can register their availability and book a training session with the following instructions:


  • New volunteers – visit the ‘Create new user’ section on the JCU website to create a profile, book into a training session and select your availability for interview panels.
  • If doctors have participated in the interview process before, visit the JCU website to log in. If you have forgotten your password, follow the ‘Forgot password’ link.


For more information, please email the Administration Officer via  or call 07 4781 3500.



Health Practice Creations Group (HPCG) presents ‘Setting up a private practice, the practical side’

This free seminar will outline the practical steps of setting up your own practice from health industry experts. The topics covered will include securing premises, legal requirements, council approval, design and fit-out, finance, IT and phone solutions, complex Medicare registrations and recruitment.  


You will take away knowledge of the steps involved in setting up a practice, including the approximate cost for your practice go-live date. Medical practitioners will present their personal experiences, hurdles and quick wins experienced on this same journey.


This seminar is accredited for 40 Category 1 QI&CPD points.


Register now.


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