BOARD COMMUNIQUE – 19 November 2020

The 142nd meeting of the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges was held virtually on the 18th and 19th November 2020, chaired by Dr Kym Jenkins FRANZCP

Council acknowledged the traditional owners of the lands upon which the meeting was held.

CPMC comprises all fifteen specialist Medical Colleges, thirteen of which are also located in New Zealand.  In farewelling Dr Ewen McPhee who concluded his term as President ACRRM, Dr Sarah Chalmers was welcomed.

College Presidents noted the novel coronavirus global case numbers and progress in the development of a COVID vaccine. Council appreciated the 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 our stakeholders, doctors and other health care professionals affected by a lockdown in South Australia.

The Australian Department of Health through Professor Paul Kelly, Commonwealth Chief Health Officer updated Council on the development of a COVID vaccine and treatment strategy referring to the advisories from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation and focus on priority groups in the Australian population to receive a vaccine. CPMC supports the Australian Government’s comprehensive set of workforce initiatives to identify and respond to workforce issues as part of the COVID-19 response to ensure continued access to services and reduce pressure on hospitals. Council welcomed the Government’s extension of COVID-19 pathology testing for SARS-CoV-2measures for a further six months.

Dr Anne Tonkin, Chair Medical Board of Australia referred to very strong response rate for the second National Medical Training Survey. The consultation on the proposed revised continuing professional development registration standard has concluded. Colleges will be consulted on implementation and transition arrangements including CPD Homes in due course.

The Australian Health Practitioners Regulating Agency discussed the issue of regulation of title and will work with relevant specialist Medical Colleges to enhance communication to benefit both the profession and the broader Australian public. This included discussion about scope of practise.

The Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association announced of its change in leadership and the forum welcomed Dr Tanya Schramm as President, thanking Dr Kris Rallah-Baker, immediate past President and Vice-President Associate Professor Shannon Springer accordingly. Discussion focussed on work in progress with regards to growing Indigenous specialists. CPMC continues to support the focus by AIDA.

Professor Villis Marshall AC, Chair, Australian Council on Safety and Quality in Health Care reported on advisories, accreditation matters and the collaboration occurring with the OECD. Council focussed on hospital accreditation and future practises to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Professor Richard Murray, President, Medical Deans of Australia and New Zealand focussed on the disruption to medical education and training for domestic and international students and the need for system-wide planning and better alignment with existing structures and programs. Further communications will occur between the relevant stakeholders aimed at feeding into the CPMC policy project and influencing the development of the Commonwealth’s National Medical Workforce Strategy.

The Confederation of Postgraduate Medical Education Council as represented by Dr Claire Blizard focussed her report on the issues surrounding supervision in the time of COVID, medical workforce and impact on the mode of accreditation.

The Australian Medical Association as represented by Secretary-General Dr Martin Laverty spoke about the issues the AMA is addressing and referred to the merit of a continued focus on doctor wellbeing.

Mr Daniel Zhou, President, Australian Medical Students Association referred to the issues facing medical students and the merit in the forum as providing an opportunity to share and discuss, and connect with the broader medical profession. Ms Sophie Keen assumes the role in 2021.

Dr Hashim Abdeen, President, Australian Medical Council of Doctors in Training described the year of 2020 and the interactions with the various Colleges and stakeholders to manage and respect the role of doctors in training in Australia. His report also appreciated the strong relationship which had developed with the leadership inside CPMC and benefit this has had on communications with over 1200 trainees.

The Council general business also included a report on medical education and workforce where the management described the CPMC policy project Effecting Reforms in Australia’s Medical Training System Post COVID and its augmenting to include accreditation and regulation through collaboration with the Australian Medical Council. CPMC noted the conclusion of the research literature review and the commencement of key stakeholder consultations.

At the conclusion of the PO Forum and Board meeting, the Annual General Meeting was held to authorise the financial audit and approve the auditing team for 2020-21. College Presidents decided to continue to meet on a monthly basis for several more months in a virtual context, taking a particular focus on the development and practical application to the population of a COVID vaccine for Australia.

2021 meeting dates can be found at:

CONTACTS:        Dr Kym Jenkins, Chair, CPMC:

Ms Angela Magarry, CEO: