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The Quarterly 2012

Welcome to 2012 and this edition of The Quarterly. We look forward to profiling the work and contribution of medical administrators throughout 2012.

I was recently asked to reflect on where the College is today compared to sometime past. I find it fascinating to go back to old records to help with such reflection.

If I go back ten years to the Annual Report of 2001, Dr Jack Sparrow was then President and in his annual report, Jack refers to College relationships with key groups such as "...the Australian Council on Safety and Quality in Health Care, the National health and Medical Research Council, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Council, the Federal Privacy Commission, the Medical Services Advisory Committee, the National Pathology Accreditation Advisory Council, the Australian Medical Council, the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards and others." The College continues active relationships with some of these organisations today albeit in some cases different guises. The College continues to work within a complex system of agencies and policy frameworks and this is not likely to change. If anything the pressures have increased and the requirement to build and work relationships grows ever stronger. Finding and building our voice in this is critical to build our identity and thus our future.

Continuing the relationship theme Dr Sparrow also referred to well established links with the British Academy of Medical Managers (BAMM) and the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE). BAMM recently ceased to operate and currently the UK Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management is emerging - currently with 800 members and growing. It is interesting too, that in 2012 the ACPE Board will host the World Federation of Medical Managers’ Medical (WFMM) Leaders Forum and Annual Meeting. Despite a period of hiatus, the connection with ACPE remains and it joins RACMA along with other organisations in Hong Kong, Canada , UK, Italy, Denmark, Israel and Sri Lanka to evolve the WFMM.

There is also reference in the President's 2001 report to early communications with the Hong Kong College of Community Medicine (HKCCM) to explore key membership opportunities. It is testimony to this early work that RACMA and the HKCCM now have an MOU in place to govern initiatives such as reciprocal CEP, training workshops and dual fellowship. Nobody who was there will forget the highly successful 2010 joint annual conference in Hong Kong and the launch there of our WFMM initiative. Our Hong Kong Fellows and College colleagues are truly part of our ‘space’ and I have regular communications with the HKCCM about Candidate and Faculty matters.

It was also reported in 2001 that RACs and the ACCC were debating the application of competition policy and principles to medical specialty college training programs. Those debates created a benchmark for things we continue to respond to today in running the College and its training programs. In 2012 the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges and the medical colleges face big issues coming from health system regulatory reform – only last week I was at meetings where national registration and definitions of practice, MBA CPD audits and compliance, and national workforce planning models were high on the agenda. In 2001 the annual conference was in Melbourne with a joint RACMA and ACHSE Western Australian conference planned for 2002. Ten years on, the annual conference is back in Perth but this time RACMA is going it alone, having last year collaborated with the Australasian Association for Quality in Healthcare, The Australian Council on Healthcare Standards and the Australian Healthcare and Hospital Association.

I find it interesting Dr Sparrow reports the Council’s decision to support the introduction of special interest groups but not the introduction of formal College faculties. Mention was made of a military special interest group and others in health informatics and regulation. It is interesting to ponder what happened with these groups because the subject of special interest groups was again raised at a Board meeting in 2011. It seems often the case when reading past records of the College, that ideas we come up with today have been discussed before. Why is this?

One of the big areas of change has been in the College fellowship training curriculum. Dr Gavin Frost was the Censor in Chief in 2001 and in the annual report, Dr Frost referred to the curriculum and training programs saying, "Now that the College has formalised the 2-day workshop as an induction workshop for new candidates, we can look forward to establishing a teaching – learning relationship with candidates from the commencement of their fellowship. .. The presentation of case studies at the 4-day workshop seems to have been a useful addition to the armamentarium of candidates late in their training, and will become the accepted presentation route soon."

In 2012 the College has documented its Medical Leadership and Management Curriculum, and this has been acknowledged by the Australian Medical Council (AMC). The curriculum is now driving further improvement - as a curriculum should – which will ensure that training and assessment maps back to goals, objectives and competencies – the expressed outcomes for the training programs RACMA runs. In 2012 the College has a complex set of training pathways for registrars and very senior clinicians reflecting the complex application of advanced standing. We have in place a new (and further to be developed) training program for the award of Associate Fellowship. Leadership, research, cultural awareness and Indigenous Health learning are all about to receive sharper focus in the College education and training programs.

College membership remains a point of discussion in the College. In the Annual Report of 1991 when Dr Peter Brennan was President, membership was a discussion item at a strategic planning meeting. It still is in 2012. Some of you will recall participating in the 2011 RACMA Workforce Census and having just drafted the 2012/2013 budget it looks like we may be in the 'boomer bubble' now – unless the declining Fellow membership class is due to our more complex relationships with other specialties and national registration, doctors and their career decisions, the economy, etc. I was given an interesting statistic last week – the average length of stay of an AFRACMA in RACMA is 10 years and the average age these doctors resign from RACMA is 56 years. Changes to our College data base have now enabled me to access such information. There was no way, 6 years ago that I could extract this information from the College data base!

Today the College has reduced its funding reliance on membership fees considerably (and we need to, if we are to have any chance of keeping fees in check as net fee paying member numbers decline through the 'boomer bubble') because we have taken on additional projects. While our candidate numbers have increased and new members are coming via the AFRACMA training program (both groups being tomorrow’s members) these projects enable us to continue to fund increasing services to members, and new initiatives, to meet ever increasing, and not unreasonable, expectations.

In 2012 the AMC will again visit the College to review our accreditation status. This time the College feels better prepared - but still not without expectation the bar will be high. But we are up for it! There are many College members out there contributing to build collegiality and to provide opportunities for their colleagues to engage as they wish. There are ideas being generated and acted upon; there are networks being strengthened.

Enjoy 2012.

Dr Karen Owen
RACMA Chief Executive

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Last Updated on Friday, 17 July 2015 14:14