RACP Annual Report 2022
© 2023 The Royal Australasian College of Physicians
President's Message
Dear members, Many of us imagine a health system that works better. One that addresses true equity, models of care needed for patients with complex and chronic health problems and the workforce skills, training and real diversity needed for our future.
But that health system needn’t remain an imaginary vision. One of the roles of an organisation like ours is to lead towards that vision, and during 2022 we continued to do so.
In the third year of a global pandemic, we used the enormous power of our collective voice to advocate with governments and address the current health system crises on both sides of the Tasman.
We know it will take systemic reform to reduce burnout in the workforce, and we are leading those calls on your behalf. I have spoken numerous times in the media to amplify your concerns and advocate for health reform and investment. Gender equity in our profession is possible. We released a major College report into gender equity in medicine, followed by a productive session working through these findings at our May 2022 RACP Congress.
We’ve updated our flexible training policy, including the change to exclude unlimited parental leave from accruing towards the training time limit.
These changes are part of our ongoing reform to provide greater flexibility for trainees wanting to start families, and to take care of our members’ wellbeing.
A healthcare workforce that is truly inclusive is possible. There has been progress this year on our Indigenous Strategic Framework, with new initiatives such as the fee reimbursement scheme to cover the training costs of annual training and/or exams for eligible participants. You can read more about the framework later in this report.
I won’t deny the huge challenges we currently face in realising our vision.
Many of you are overworked or under tremendous pressure. We work in an industry that still lacks flexibility for all, and where there are enormous barriers to women entering and progressing through their medical careers, compared with their male counterparts. Whether it’s the challenges of starting a family during training years, discrimination faced through our careers, sexual harassment in the workplace or a lack of flexible work – these are all barriers that women, who are almost 50 per cent of our membership, face in their careers. We also recognise that others also experience discrimination and barriers in their professional life.
But we are determined to lead improvements across our entire sector. We are also determined to improve the services we deliver to you, in our examinations, our day-to-day responsiveness, or the support we provide.
You are not alone in the challenges that you experience in your journey as a trainee, a physician or paediatrician – whether those challenges are in leadership, at work, home, or in your studies with us. As a collective, I think it is vitally important that we support each other and share not just our challenges, but our triumphs. Leading towards the future for you continues to be my priority in the time I am privileged to be President. I welcome Louise McElvogue as the interim CEO as of December 2022 and look forward to continuing to lead the College along with the Board and other senior leaders in our College.
Dr Jacqueline Small RACP President
It’s a privilege to join the College as your Interim CEO. The RACP continues to Educate, Advocate, Innovate in our 85th year. The Innovate commitment will be a focus for 2023. Innovating to ensure our service and technology are frictionless for members, continuing to innovate in education and ongoing professional development, and adapting to the changes in the medical, education, regulatory and government landscapes.
I am excited to bring my governance, health and technology experience to supporting the College. With a background in digital change in health, education and media, I am working with the Board, committees and staff to address a broad range of opportunities and challenges for the RACP. Core to everything we do is delivering for members. Whether that is improving the College’s educational technology and curricula, enhancing the member experience, delivering world-class professional education, or ensuring we deliver on important advocacy issues, the focus will be on member value.
We are building the foundations for a strong College, which supports our trainees and Fellows at every step of their career. We are excited to welcome Professor Inam Haq as our new Executive General Manager of Education, Learning and Assessment. A rheumatologist by training and a Fellow of the RACP and RCP, Inam has led innovation in medical education at Sydney University and Brighton Medical School and in leveraging technology. Inam and his team are working on projects to improve curriculum content and training experiences, with changes coming throughout 2023.
The College is focused on ensuring an increase in Māori, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island trainees and an uplift in training in cultural safety for all specialists. A key plank of our strategy is delivering our Member Wellbeing Strategy and other important strategies, including improving flexibility in the way we offer training and addressing gender equity in the profession.
Thank you to President Jacqueline Small, President-Elect Jennifer Martin and our Board and committees who do so much for the College. My gratitude also to the dedicated staff working for the RACP across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.
Louise McElvogue Interim Chief Executive Officer, RACP