COVID-19 Pandemic Communique – 23 April 2020

All College Presidents and CEOs met to discuss issues associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Colleges are located in both Australia and New Zealand. Presidents noted Australia’s continued low growth rate of new COVID-19 cases. All Colleges expressed their continued appreciation to all of Australia’s health care workers throughout the crisis.

The COVIDSafe tracing app was discussed in terms of scope and function, where the data will be stored and who enables access. The app was noted as voluntary, would add value to the current public health measures in place to strengthen disease containment as it enables quicker contact tracing. The app was considered to have merit and was supported.

The decision by the National Cabinet on the resumption to elective surgery from 27th April was noted with all measures subject to review on 11th May.

The different requirements for the management of residents of aged care facilities attending and returning from medical appointments was discussed in the context of the development of a position statement to be developed.

Department of Health Update – Dr Andrew Singer AM provided an update on discussions at the Jurisdictional Working Group and advice to AHMAC in relation to training and clinical placements. The intention is for the MWRAC to resume policy development for a National Medical Workforce Strategy in 2020.

New Zealand Update:  Dr Bonning (ACEM) and Chair CMCNZ updated on the epidemiological situation in NZ and the lockdown in the context of health system capacity to manage any surge in COVID-19 cases. CMC to consider alignment of clinical years between Australia and NZ and will be on the CMC agenda.

Primary Care Update: Dr Nespolon remarked on the use of telehealth by commercial companies and RACGP support for the contact tracing app. AssProf. McPhee (ACRRM) concurred on the issue of the need for continuity of care and routine screening. The impact of COVID-19 on the medical workforce in rural and remote areas was noted as a concern.

Medical Workforce Update: Dr Jenkins referred to the concept of conducting a project looking at disruption to the training pipeline based on wide ranging discussions with Colleges and stakeholders with CPMC to develop a proposal was supported. The AHPRA National Principles for Clinical Education were noted, as was the issue of exam structure, flexibility and maintenance of standards by each College.

Focus on Welfare – Mental health resources were under development. The Pandemic Kindness project had launched.

Farewell to Associate Professor Mark Lane and to Dr Rodney Mitchell who conclude their terms around the time of the next CPMC meeting.

Released by Dr Jenkins Chair CPMC