COUNCIL OF PRESIDENTS OF MEDICAL COLLEGES
COMMUNIQUE – October 2020
The 141st meeting of the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges occurred on Thursday 15 October 2020, chaired by Dr Kym Jenkins. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were acknowledged as traditional owners of the lands upon which the meeting was held.
CPMC represents all fifteen specialist Medical Colleges, thirteen of which are also located in New Zealand. All Colleges were in attendance through the President or CEO. Dr Andrew Singer AM guest.
CPMC welcomed new College Presidents. Dr Ayman Shenouda, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners; Dr Sarah Chalmers, President Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine; and Dr Nitin Verma President Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists. Presidents farewelled Dr McPhee. Nominations have opened for Chair-elect to take effect from February 2021.
College Presidents noted the novel coronavirus global case numbers at 31,181,110; progress in the development of a COVID vaccine; participation by the CEO in several international and national updates on the prevalence and management of the disease; and regular reports from the National Incident Room in the Australian Government, and those from the NZ Ministry of Health.
CPMC extended its collective appreciation to the health care workers across Australia and New Zealand and particularly to doctors in the States of New South Wales, and Victoria.
In medical education and workforce, the CPMC policy project Effecting Reforms in Australia’s Medical Training System Post COVID continues to progress with key stakeholder consultations to commence. Presidents noted the correspondence from the Department of Health concerning potential collaborative action to augment the study with inclusion of accreditation and regulation.
Concerns with expanded scope of practise decisions: Specialist Medical Colleges considered the issue of professional capability for competencies in the context of scope of practise in specialist medicine, and any expanded scope in allied health professions, noting with concern the recent decisions made by National Boards under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme which have not been approved by the Ministerial Council governing the operations under the National Law.
The Australian Department of Health provided an update on the recent Federal Budget which included measures around COVID-19 and aged-care. Professor John Wilson, President, Royal Australasian College of Physicians led a discussion surrounding MBS billing and privately referred non-inpatients with reference to advice from the Department concerning increased compliance measures in Medicare.
COVID-19 pathology Testing: Professor Michael Dray, President, Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia reported on the importance of regular and repeated testing as core to managing the pandemic with reference to a decline in COVID-19 testing in both in Australia and NZ. The Department indicated future targeted advertising campaigns were expected.
New Zealand Update: Dr John Bonning, President Australasian College for Emergency Medicine noted the country had experienced 102 days with no community transmission then a very small cluster which is driving the intention to increase surveillance testing. New Zealand goes to the polls with two referenda – end of life and medicinal use of marijuana.
Primary Care: Dr Ewen McPhee, President Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine provided an update on matters impacting in rural and remote Australia with reference to primary care and noted changes to regional GP training. The two primary care Medical Colleges are responsible for standards and education and strategic discussions continue with the Australian Government on practicalities.
Examinations: Issues in relation to the conduct of examinations impacting most recently on ACRRM and RACGP candidates was discussed in the context of trainee wellbeing, continuity of training and IT system integrity. Dr Jenkins, Chair CPMC emphasised the importance of consideration of exams in the context of social distancing, whether a hybrid model was appropriate and how to address risks. Dr Tony Sparnon, President Royal Australasian College of Surgeons informed the Colleges of nine specialties having exams in October.
Next meetings: Wednesday 18th November (Presidents) and Thursday 19th November for the full CPMC meetings. Ms Magarry as Company Secretary advised of the Annual General Meeting scheduled for 19 November 2020 at midday.
CONTACTS: Dr Kym Jenkins, Chair, CPMC: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms Angela Magarry, CEO: email@example.com