17 November 2015

College Presidents met for the 112th meeting of the Committee of Presidents of Medical Colleges at the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners North Sydney on Thursday 12th November, 2015. The Annual General Meeting was also convened at midday at which a change-over in Chairs occurred to Professor Nicholas Talley, RACP President.

Professor Hollands opened the Morning Forum recognising the Eora Nation as the traditional owners of the land. All welcomed the new presidents at the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine, and the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators. The forum welcomed Dr Sean White (AIDA), Dr Catherine Yelland (RACP), and The Hon. Carmel Tebbutt and noted this was the last meeting for Dr Anthony Cross (ACEM), A/Professor Peter Stewart (RCPA), and A/Professor Chris Milross (RANZCR).

Professor Hollands informed the forum of the discussions with the Health Minister on workforce, the MBS Review, and on preserving the RHCE program. He advised of the meeting with Health Secretary Bowles regarding workforce data analysis and the NMTAN, particularly the concern regarding the supply of medical trainees into the training pipeline. Professor Hollands also provided an overview of CPMC having co-convened the subcommittee on Indigenous health with AIDA to discuss how to work together to improve opportunities for Aboriginal medical specialists. The Chair also noted that bullying and harassment is a major issue currently, and a presentation from the President of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Professor David Watters (RACS) would be provided to the forum later in the meeting on the findings of the Expert Advisory Group.

The Australian Medical Council noted A/Professor Jill Sewell AM as the AMC President; that a key outcome of the review of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) will be for another review of accreditation in Australia and the new Accreditation Standards will come into effect from 1 Jan 2016.

Australia’s Chief Medical Officer discussed the Department of Immigration’s Skilled Occupations List where medical specialties were still listed as in demand and Colleges were of the view that this should be reviewed in light of the balance in supply.

The National Health and Medical research Council was an apology for the meeting and their paper was noted.

Dr Joanna Flynn, Chair of the Medical Board of Australia highlighted it will report to the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council on the two recommendations arising from the Lost in the Labyrinth report in December. The Board will meet with the Medical Council of New Zealand and specialist colleges on 4 December on revalidation with discussion on the CPD gaps of specialists, and what the minimal level of competence should be. The Board is hosting the International Association of Medical Regulatory Authorities (IAMRA) 12th International Conference on Medical Regulation on 20-23 September 2016. A general discussion took place regarding reporting requirements.

AIDA led a discussion regarding increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical professionals, noting that completion rates for medical schools remain a big issue with greater pastoral care required and mentorship often best commenced before traineeship.

The report from the Australian Commission on Safety & Quality in Healthcare was noted, with emphasis on the Atlas of Variation and data.
The Australian Medical Association noted the many reviews underway by the government and concerns in relation to the Specialist Training Program (STP) as mal-distribution continues to be an issue and suggested a community placement program may help address this.

The Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand reported on continuing to work with RACS on bullying and harassment, and what can be done in medical schools to on professionalism.

The report from the Confederation of Postgraduate Medical Education Councils was noted particularly in relation to resolutions of the Australian Junior Medical Officers Committee.
A presentation by the RACS President on the Expert Advisory Group on Discrimination, Bullying and Sexual Harassment was provided to the Morning Forum. It was widely agreed that all elements of the training pathway and other health professionals were more aware of the impact of unprofessional behaviour and the system was changing to protect against it. A CPMC statement was developed for wider distribution.

Following the Morning Forum College Presidents thanked Professor Hollands for his two year term and welcomed Professor Nicholas Talley. A new Executive was formed. CPMC meetings will add presentations from members on key topics. A planning session will occur prior to the February meeting to formulate strategy for the year. The company Chief Executive reported on engagement with senior officials, communications, finances and the negotiations concerning the rural health program. Members agreed to pursue Indigenous Health and several other issues out of session.

The next meeting of the Committee of Presidents of Medical Colleges will take place on Thursday 18th February 2016 at the Royal College of Pathologists, Surry Hills Sydney.