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RACGP WA newsletter

22 October 2018

Chair report

Dr Sean Stevens – Chair report

This is my first report as Chair of RACGP WA and I would like to begin by acknowledging the huge shoes that I have to fill by taking over from Dr Tim Koh. It has been my great pleasure working alongside Tim for the last four years as his deputy and I have seen the huge amount of work that Tim has done at both a state and national level on behalf of the RACGP and its members. Tim’s wealth of knowledge will be retained by the faculty as he will remain on the RACGP Western Australia Council, alongside State Manager Hamish Milne, past-President Frank Jones and current Deputy Chairs, Dr Mary Wyatt and Dr Andrew Png.

I would also like to acknowledge outgoing Council members who, between them, have put in close to a century worth of service to the RACGP in many different roles. These Council members are Dr Sanjeev Balakrishnan, Dr Cathy Brooker, Assoc Prof Frances Cadden, Dr Barry Fatovich, Assoc Prof Hilary Fine, Dr Sophie Genoni and Dr Garrett Leonard. These colleagues have all put in many, many unpaid hours, dedication, attended meetings and I have very much enjoyed their company.

During my term as Chair, I would like to see us build on our already excellent educational program, particularly to provide greater access to educational events via technologies, such as webinars for our rural members. I would also like to see us expand our already significant lobbying and advocacy rolls using the contacts that we have cultivated over several years. Finally, I would like to create greater collegiality and mixing between ourselves, both at College House and out in the towns, suburbs and country areas where our members work.

If there are any ideas or suggestions that you feel the RACGP could be doing to improve its services to you, or, better still, if you wish to implement something that could improve the services, health, education or wellbeing of your colleagues, please email me via

Finally, by the time this newsletter goes live, I would have arrived back in Perth following GP18, Australia’s premier general practice conference. The conference was yet again a massive success, but I promise to write more about that next month.

Dr Sean Stevens


RACGP WA news and events

From Hamish's desk

The recent RACGP Annual General Meeting (AGM) marked the point in time where Dr Sean Stevens officially became Chair of RACGP WA. I look forward to working with Dr Stevens and the other Executive members to drive along the activities of the faculty.

A related matter that members voted on at the AGM was a change in the RACGP Constitution, whereby the national governing body is now called a Board and the local faculty body is now a Council. So, from now on we will refer to the RACGP WA Council.

Most members will be aware that the planning learning and need (PLAN) activity is now an optional Category 1 activity for the 2017–19 triennium. For anybody who has started their PLAN activity – or still wish to do so – the RACGP WA team is still available to assist with starting and/or completing this QI&CPD activity.

The RACGP WA team is also busily planning the continuing professional development (CPD) and collegial activities for 2019. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if there’s anything you need or would like to discuss. We welcome your email or call on 08 9489 9555.

Hamish Milne

State Manager, RACGP WA

WA GP Dr Bill Sands awarded General Practitioner of the Year

The RACGP announced WA GP Dr William ‘Bill’ Sands as the 2018 RACGP General Practitioner of the Year at last week’s GP18 conference.

The General Practitioner of the Year Award recognises a GP who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the general practice profession, excellence in primary healthcare provision and significant involvement in training and continuing professional development.

RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon presented the award to Dr Sands. 

Dr Sands has cared for his patients for more than 35 years and has earned a reputation in WA as having a clinical understanding of patients that is second to none.

Dr Nespolon said, ‘Dr Sands has provided a high level of clinical care to his patients and passionately cares for the elderly, visiting nursing homes to ensure they receive the full spectrum of care required.

‘With over 20 years’ experience in GP obstetrics and a later transition to specialising in elderly health, Dr Sands’ career has encompassed a cradle-to-grave approach.

‘Dr Sands is generous in his approach to general practice, providing continuing access to patients who are financially strained and ensuring the health needs of the community are met.’

Dr Nespolon stated that Dr Sands’ dedication and approach to providing quality preventive care and his eagerness to share his knowledge, so the next generation of GPs are fully equipped, was commendable.

Dr Sands taught and examined for the RACGP and served as an RACGP WA Board member for many years. He was a founding board member of the Fremantle Division of General Practice and maintains his role as Chair of the Supervisor Advisory Board.

The RACGP WA would like to sincerely congratulate Dr Sands for his commitment to the profession and for receiving this well-deserved award.

Events in review

Pathology revealed

More than 30 GPs recently attended the three-part ‘Pathology revealed’ series in August and September, run in partnership with Clinipath Pathology.

Held at the Clinipath Pathology premises in Osborne Park, the workshops provided participants with the opportunity for practical learning as they discussed test requesting, interpretation and management of results.

The sessions were presented by specialist pathologists who delivered workshops on biochemistry, haematology, cytology, microbiology, immunology and histopathology.

RACGP WA will be running the popular ‘Pathology revealed’ session again in 2019, so keep an eye out on the events calendar for more information.

Pathology Pathology 2

New Fellows Conference

On Saturday 1 September, the RACGP New Fellows Committee hosted the inaugural 'New Fellows Conference: Foundations for general practice’ at the stunning Mandoon Estate.

More than 60 new Fellows and early career GPs attended the conference. Highlights included the following presenter discussions:

  • Dr Jags Krishnan discussed Medicare and transitioning from bulk-billing to private
  • Dr Eric Khong, MDA National Educator, discussed the how, what, where and why of medical documentation
  • Dr Chady Sader discussed common ear, nose and throat issues.

Another highlight was the bush tucker tasting during lunch and, of course, the sensational Mandoon Estate grounds.

The day concluded with an insightful panel session and sundowner where attendees had the opportunity to meet new faces and reconnect with other new Fellows.

 New Fellows Conference - Morning Tea NFC chady New Fellows Conference - Panel (1)

Last chance to register for ‘Business of general practice’

Saturday 27 October 2018

Following the success of the ‘Practice Owners National Conference’, RACGP WA will be hosting a similar one-day workshop at the beautiful Bendat Centre in Wembley this weekend.

We have confirmed a schedule of highly experienced GPs, successful practice owners and subject matter experts to deliver an insightful day for aspiring business owners, current practice owners and general practice contractors or employees.

Guest speakers include:

  • Dr Christabel Samy – Principal GP and Partner, Samy Medical Group
  • Dr Jags Krishnan – Managing Director Perth GP and 2018 RACGP WA Practice Owner of the Year award recipient
  • Dr Damien Zilm – Chair, WAGPET and board member for WAPHA and RACGP WA
  • Dr Lewis MacKinnon – Owner and Principal GP, Skye Medical Armadale
  • Dr Sean Stevens – Chair, RACGP Specific Interests Business of General Practice Network and previous practice owner
  • Dr Nathan Pinskier – former Chair, RACGP Expert Committee – eHealth & Practice Systems
  • Yves Schoof – Affluence Private
  • Mitchell Walmsley – Affluence Chartered Accountants
  • Bernadette Kenny – WAPHA
  • Gae Nuttal – MDA National

Find out more or register now on the RACGP website.

Improving postpartum clinical care – New session on Medicare billing added

Saturday 17 November 2018

The RACGP WA and St John of God Mount Lawley Hospital invite you to attend the final one-day active learning module of the year. This workshop aims to develop and enhance the skills and knowledge for guiding new parents through the first three months after giving birth.

In addition to the clinical sessions, we have now added an interactive session on the appropriate use of antenatal and postnatal Medicare item numbers, including the use of 4001*, 16407 and 16591. The correct use of Medicare item 16500 and antenatal billing will also be discussed.

The workshop is delivered by experienced GPs, specialists and subject matter experts including:

  • Dr Stuart Prosser – GP Obstetrician, GP Anaesthetist and Medical Director, One for Women
  • Dr Charles Armstrong – Obstetrician
  • Dr Julia Feutrill – Psychiatrist
  • Dr Marnie Rowan – GP and Lactation Consultant.

Throughout the day, the following topics will be explored and unpacked in a series of hands-on and practical workshops:

  • wound care
  • lactation
  • mental health
  • breastfeeding
  • musculoskeletal problems
  • pelvic floor problems
  • pain management
  • interactive panel discussion
  • understanding antenatal and postnatal Medicare Items.


9.00 am – 4.30 pm


St John of God Hospital Mt Lawley, Thirlmere Road, Mt Lawley


RACGP member early bird: $154 (ends 31 October)
RACGP member: $198 | Non-member: $265

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

Find out more or register now on the RACGP website.

*The workshop will not grant authority to claim Medicare item 4001, but will discuss the process to claim access to this.

Calendar of events

For the full list of professional development events, view the RACGP WA calendar.

Event Date 
The business of general practice Saturday 27 October
Introduction to point-of-care ultrasound for GPs – Albany Sunday 4 November
Clinical cases and conversations – Infectious disease Thursday 8 November
2018.2 OSCE Sunday 11 November
Cervical screening Tuesday 13 November
2019.1 Key Feature Problem (KFP) pre-exam webinar series Wednesday 14, 21 and 28 November
Beyond the bump – Improving postpartum clinical care Saturday 17 November
2019.1 Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) and KFP pre-exam workshop Saturday 24 November 
Evidence-based medicine journal club Tuesday 27 November
CPR course for GPs Tuesday 27 November
Webinar: Optimising outcomes when working with interpreters Wednesday 5 December

RACGP National news and events

Webinar: Optimising outcomes when working with interpreters

12.30–1.30 pm, Wednesday 5 December 2018

Australia is an increasingly diverse society – close to a third of the population were born overseas.

Many patients presenting to GPs may not be proficient in English. GPs need to be comfortable working with interpreters and understand the importance of discouraging family interpreters. Using professional interpreters has been shown to improve patient satisfaction and compliance.

Presented by Dr Aesen Thambiran, Director of Humanitarian Entrant Health Service, and Ms Khin Myo Myint, Burmese Interpreting and Translating Services, this complimentary webinar will assist GPs in:

  • reviewing the role of culture and language in the healthcare setting
  • discussing the importance of working with professional interpreters
  • reviewing how to get the most out of the consultation when working with an interpreter.

Register now on the RACGP website.

RACGP Specific Interests has a new resources page

RACGP Specific Interests now has a resources page on the RACGP website. Available for access are recordings of past webinars along with presentations, slides and 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.

To access the information, visit the Specific Interests resources webpage.

External news and events

Before the Royal Flying Doctor Service

Fundraising event for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and WA Medical Museum

Tuesday 27 November 2018


Rural Health West and RACGP WA invite you to attend this fundraising event in celebration of the 90th year of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Join us for a wonderful evening of Western Australian medical history. We will go back to 1917 and re-live the tale of Dr Joe Holland’s 3330 km mercy dash from Perth to Halls Creek by cattle ship, model T Ford, horse and foot – a dramatic account based on Dr Holland’s diary and performed by Dr Holland’s grandson, Mr Peter Holland.

We invite you to mingle with friends, pre-performance and post-performance. Drinks and light refreshments will be provided.

All proceeds from the event will be proudly donated to the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Western Australia Medical Museum.

Date: Tuesday 27 November 2018

Time:  6.30–9.30 pm

Program of events:

  6.30 pm               Doors open | Pre-event function

  7.30 pm               Performance commences

  8.30 pm               Post-event drinks and refreshments

Venue: Perth Modern School Auditorium, 90 Roberts Road, Subiaco

Cost: $75

To register or for more information, visit the Rural Health West event website.

WA Indian Doctors Foundation Annual Charity Gala Ball

Saturday 17 November 2018

WA Indian Doctors extends a warm invitation to the annual fundraising Bollywood-themed charity event at the Westin Perth Ballrooms.

The WA Indian Doctors Foundation will be raising funds for their nominated 2018 charity, CINI Australia.

The night promises to be a highlight of the event calendar yet again this year. Please book your tickets early to avoid disappointment.  

For event information and to register, please visit the event website or email

Research corner*

Survey: Choosing your medical specialty | Win an iPad Pro

Determining which factors influence an individual's career choices will help to guide everyone involved in the journey of training junior doctors.

With better insight, we can support and inform junior doctors in making their specialty career choices. PMCWA, AMA WA and WAGPET are conducting a short, personalised interview to gather this information. This study received ethics approval from the Curtin University Ethics Committee.

The involvement of as many junior doctors as possible in the process will greatly improve the quality of the data and will influence future discussions that will ultimately benefit current and future generations of junior doctors.

We are currently seeking participants for this survey. The survey will take about 30 minutes. Your feedback is valuable and appreciated. By participating, you will also go into the draw to win an iPad Pro.

To book a time to participate in the survey, please visit the WAGPET website.

*Inclusion does not imply RACGP endorsement.


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