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Training and Assessment Newsletter - August 2017

In this issue:

Fellowship program
Trainee Representative Committee

Fellowship program

Trainee Support Webinar series available on Learnit

So far this year the College has developed five episodes in the Trainee Support Webinar series.

This series will cover most aspects and help you navigate the Training Program. The webinars combine expert advice and real life experiences from Trainees and Fellows.

You can already access recordings of the following webinars:

•           Training Program Basics

•           Making the most of Stage 1

•           Making the most of Stage 2

•           Navigating the Psychotherapy Written Case

•           Navigating the Scholarly Project

Watch the first five webinars in Learnit  [member log-in required]

The upcoming episode in August will feature a lively discussion on how to manage rural rotations, workload, making the move and developing support networks.

What: Rural Training: virtual discussion panel
When: Wednesday 16 August 2017
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm AEST   |   2:00pm - 3:00pm NZST - click here for time zones
Where: Online - join live via your computer, tablet or phone
Your Host: Dr Duy Tran, Regional Psychiatrist, Kimberley Mental Health & Drug Service, Broome WA
With Special Guest Panellists: Psychiatry registrars from around the region
Cost: Complimentary

Register Here
Q&A: Once you have registered you can pre-submit questions for the panel by using the speech bubble at the bottom the screen.

Updated: OCA Protocol

The OCA Protocol has recently been updated to further clarify that if time allows, the OCA can be completed in one session. Alternatively it can be split into two 1-hour parts that occur no more than 1 week from each other. In addition, it is advised that the initial clinical interview should be a minimum of 45 minutes with a typical interview time being 50 minutes.

The OCA Protocol can be located here. For further information please contact  

Neuropsychiatry trainee survey

Dear RANZCP trainee,

The Section of Neuropsychiatry (SoN) is conducting a short survey of all trainees Binationally and we hoped you could take 3 minutes to complete this survey online using the link below. The survey is anonymised and aims to generate data relating to trainee interest in, and access to, training experiences in Neuropsychiatry in Australasia. The survey results will help the Section of Neuropsychiatry set a training agenda that is consistent with the views of the majority of trainees and is an opportunity for the SoN to engage with the trainee body as a whole. Your participation is greatly appreciated. The survey can be found through – Neuropsychiatry Binational Trainee Survey

The closing date for the survey is 1st September, 2017.

Please contact if there are any issues with accessing the survey.


Best wishes,

Adith Mohan

Committee member, Section of Neuropsychiatry

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Exam Assistants for OSCE Examination – Saturday, 9 September 2017 - Volunteers required for Adelaide

The Committee for Examinations would like to invite local trainees and SIMGs to assist with the running of the OSCE examination.  The September 2017 OSCE Examination is to be held in Adelaide on Saturday, 9 September 2017.  Your attendance at the examination venue would be required from 7:00am to 6:00pm.  The examination will be held at the Lyell McEwin Hospital and the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Exam assistants play a pivotal part in the smooth running of this event.  This is an excellent opportunity for future candidates to improve their chances of success by seeing the examination process in action.

A training webinar will be conducted on Friday afternoon, 8 September 2017 at 3:00pm.  Your help will be very much appreciated by the College and your colleagues who will be sitting these examinations.

If you are interested, please contact the Exams Department at

September 2017 OSCE Examination

Candidates undertaking the September 2017 OSCE are not to bring their travel luggage with them to the examination site.  One small handbag/document satchel will only be accepted for storage by examination staff, and personal belongings should be kept to a minimum. Please note that local security protocols will prohibit any baggage being left unattended.

Whilst the College aims to start and complete the examination on time, there are instances where it can be delayed.  For candidates who are travelling / flying, we ask that they do not book flights immediately following the examination.  We highly recommend that you book a flight at least 3 hours after the scheduled conclusion of the examination, as advised in the confirmation email.  You should also take into consideration traffic conditions and travel distance to the airport.  

The College regrets any inconvenience these arrangements may cause, but thanks candidates in advance for their cooperation. Please contact the exams department at if you have any further questions.

Candidates are reminded that should their performance be seriously affected by illness, injury or other personal circumstances, they should consider withdrawing from the examination. 

OSCE Examination Attire

The Committee for Examinations recommends that candidates presenting at the examinations, wear comfortable modest clothing and footwear but still be professionally presented.  Candidate attire should not restrict movement and their attire should allow them to move swiftly and freely across stations as well as within a station.

August 2017 MCQ and Essay-style and September 2017 OSCE Candidates

Candidates undertaking the MCQ, Essay-style and OSCE examinations are reminded that no unauthorised food or drink are permitted in the examination.  Candidates must make application for Special Consideration at the time of exam enrolment.  Candidates are directed to the Regulations, Policies and Procedures for a detail listing of permitted and restricted items

To facilitate successful delivery of assessment outcomes, candidates must ensure that their email address on the College database is current and they can securely receive emails. 

Withdrawing from the MCQ and Essay-style Examination

Candidates who have registered on-line their intention to sit the MCQ and Essay-style examination and then decide to withdraw from sitting the MCQ or Essay-style Examination, must deregister themselves by logging on to the Pearson Vue website ( They are to also notify the Exams Team at the College of their withdrawal as soon as possible.

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Trainee Representative Committee


Written from the perspective of trainees.   

As trainees, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) features heavily in our professional lives and it can be difficult to see the College that exists behind the forms, assessments and exams.  The Trainee Representative Committee (TRC) holds an important role in maintaining the relationship between trainees and the College. The TRC consists of a group of elected trainees who represent trainee interests within the College.  This is even more significant considering that trainees make up about 25% of the College’s membership.  Being part of the TRC is also an opportunity to understand aspects of the College structure, which is central to being able to work towards future improvements.  This article will discuss the history of specialty colleges and the RANZCP specifically in addition to providing some of our own reflections.  Facts and statements about the College in this article were sourced from the College website (please see below for the link).  

A commentary from ‘The Lancet’ in May 2016 explains how the Royal College of Physicians was endorsed by Henry VIII in 1512 in return for physician loyalty to the King and the state at a time of great political vulnerability to the King: an epidemic of the plague. In return, the College would have a monopoly over the practice of medicine and assume power to confer fellowship, thereby selecting who could and could not be called a doctor and ejecting unqualified practitioners from the field. 

This was epoch-making for the medical profession and until the mid-20th century the structure of the health-care system evolved slowly and the medical profession enjoyed the privilege of autonomy, maintaining a monopoly over health-care provision.  The practice of medicine was simpler prior to the mid-20th century, with doctors treating individual patients who were usually responsible for paying for services: accountability rested with the patient. Since this time, medicine has evolved from care provided by a doctor to a patient to an industry consuming a significant portion of national expenditure in developed countries.  In the 1960s and 70s in a social climate where all forms of authority were questioned, social scientists argued that the medical profession had abused its monopoly and prioritised its own interests over service to society and self-regulated poorly (Cruess & Cruess, 2004). 

Paul Starr used the term ‘social contract’ to describe the renegotiation of the medical profession’s relationship to society as a response to the complexities of both modern medicine and contemporary society (Starr, 1984 as cited in Cruess & Cruess, 2004): this includes the evolution of consumer economics in Western societies and the commercialisation of the health system (Robertson & Walter, 2013).  This social contract means the modern state expects its doctors to serve the public. In return for the provision of public medical services, the medical profession is granted extensive freedom to govern over itself and regulate its own affairs.  

In order to maintain and safeguard the profession, selection and training of appropriate individuals who can accept the challenges that the maintenance of autonomy necessitates, is central to the role of specialist medical colleges.  Individual doctors must ‘internalise’ a perpetual tension that could best be described as a compromise between unprecedented freedom of action in the field of medicine and self-regulation consistent with wider legal traditions.  The barriers for a doctor in formal specialty training are erected by the colleges and the apprenticeship model that previously moulded an individual doctor into the heir of tradition and experience no longer exists, although fragments of this still exist; more strongly in some colleges than others. Tradition and experience is now largely transmitted from senior to junior as a pre-set ‘to do’ list, comprising the assessment process.  This represents a new compromise with the state and legal structures, where clinical reasoning must be replicable and legally defensible.   

Within this historical background and broader social context, since its inception, training and education of psychiatrists has been central to the role of the RANZCP and all psychiatrists (in Australia and NZ) must be accredited by the College prior to practising.  The RANZCP is accorded relative autonomy in this process but is externally accredited by the Australian Medical Council (AMC) and the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ).  Training and assessment is the main interface between trainees and the College.  This introduces an inherent tension as the College then functions as the assessor and can be experienced as the obstacle to obtaining fellowship.  However as "college", "colleague" and "collegial" all share the same old French/Latin origin, an important fact to be highlighted is that the College is essentially comprised of a group of colleagues (psychiatrists and small group of trainees as part of the TRC) who have volunteered and have been elected by their colleagues, to work for their colleagues.

The support structures of the College have changed over time. This is related not only to societal changes but also importantly to the growth of the College, from around 400 members in 1963 to almost 6000 members currently.  Major changes include transition from a council to a board, increasing inclusion of administrative staff to College operations and the appointment of a chief executive officer.  This may be viewed as a shift to a managerialist organisational model – and whether we each agree with it or not – it is one of the possible solutions available to address the problems posed by the increasing size and complexity of College organisation: the College would otherwise be run solely by psychiatrists who volunteer their time outside of their clinical work.  Concerns about the possible negative ramifications of "managerialism" in health has been described by Komesaroff et al., (2015) and concerns about “managerialism” have been expressed by physicians and general practitioners, the shift to a board structure recently being unsupported in the RACGP by a vote of the membership.

The intention of this article is not to provide a comprehensive overview of the history of colleges or describe in detail the structure of the RANZCP or present an opinion about this structure.  Rather, we wanted to introduce some ideas and our reflections.  We look forward to further discussions about this and would be interested to hear your views.

Written by

Dr Hannah Kim                                            Dr Melissa White

TRC Chair                                                    TRC Non-Jurisdictional Representative

TRC Victorian Representative

For more information about the college please see:  

For more information about the TRC please see:


Cruess, S.R. & Cruess, R.L. (2004).” Professionalism and Medicine’s Social Contract with Society”, AMA Journal of Ethics, 6(4) retrieved from

Horton, R. (2016). “The 500-year old cause of the doctors’ strike”, Lancet, 287 (10031), p1892

Komesaroff, P.A., Kerridge, I.H., Isaacs, D. & Brooks, P.M. (2015). "The scourge of managerialism and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians", Medical Journal of Australia, 202: 519-521

Robertson, M. & Walter, G. (2013). Ethics and Mental Health – The Patient, Profession and Community.  Boca Raton. FL: CRC Press.  

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Registration Reminder: Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Conference 2017

The Organising Committee would like to remind you that registrations are open for the Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Conference, which is being held from Thursday 19 October to Sunday 22 October 2017 at the Adelaide Convention Centre, South Australia

Pre-conference Workshops
The diverse and stimulating academic program will be complemented by a range of pre-conference workshops, which have been released online – register now to secure your place.  If you have already registered for the conference, you simply need to log in to your account to add the workshops to your registration.

Dr Richard Rose (UK)
Therapeutic Life Story Work (full day workshop)

Professor Edward Melhuish (UK)
Good Quality Education in Early Childhhod: Examination of Evidence & Discussion of how to Implement Best Practices (half day workshop)

Dr Peter Szatmari (Canada)
Managing Co-morbid Mental Health Challenges Among Children & Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) (half day workshop)

One- and three-day registrations  are available as well as discounted rates for psychiatry trainees. Registration fees include the welcome reception on Thursday 19 October and a movie night (limited spaces available) on Saturday 21 October.

A certain highlight of the conference will be the conference dinner on Friday 20 October at the Adelaide Oval, one of Australia’s most iconic sporting venues.

A number of accommodation options are available and can be booked when you register.

Register now to secure your place for this exciting conference, or for more information please visit the conference website.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Dr Sally Tregenza
Convenor, FCAP 2017

Advanced Trainee Breakfast: Faculty of Psychiatry of Old Age Conference 2017

The Conference Organising Committee would like to update Advanced Trainees on planned events at this year’s Faculty of Psychiatry of Old Age Conference.

In place of a separate Advanced Trainee workshop at the end of the conference, a special Advanced Trainee breakfast will be held during the conference featuring an address from an invited speaker and time to speak with SATPOA committee members.  The cost for this event is included in the conference registration fee.

This year’s conference will be held in association with the International Psychogeriatric Association (IPA) at the Millennium Hotel Queenstown, New Zealand, from Thursday 9 November to Friday 10 November. Pre-conference workshops will be held on Wednesday 8 November and the educational breakfast meeting for Advanced Trainees will be held on Friday 10 November.

Register today to secure your place.

The Organising Committee is currently working on a dynamic and exciting program based around the theme “Capacity, Creativity and Ageing in Clinical Practice”.

The program is being finalised and will be released soon.

Pre-conference Workshops
The conference will feature four highly relevant, optional pre-conference workshops on Wednesday 8 November.

Organised by the IPA, workshops will be interactive and will be led by international experts.

 • Imaging and Biomarkers (full day)
• Capacity Controversies and the Cutting Edge (full day)
• Late-Life Mood Disorders: Emerging Concepts (half day)
• Management of BPSD Using Psychosocial Interventions for People with Dementia Living in Nursing Home Care
(half day)

Keynote speakers
We are delighted to welcome Professor Robin Jacoby, Professor Henry Brodaty, Professor Roger Mulder and Dr Margaret Dudley as our keynote speakers, who are well known as erudite researchers, teachers and leaders.

Social functions

Welcome Reception
A welcome reception will be held on Wednesday evening at Skyline Queenstown and is included in the cost of your registration.  Guest tickets can also be purchased for this event.

Conference Dinner
A special conference dinner will be held on Thursday evening at Prime Waterfront Restaurant.  Tickets can be purchased when you register for the conference and include arrival drinks and canapés, three course dinner and beverages.  Please click here to secure your place for this memorable event.

We have secured a range of accommodation options in Queenstown and we encourage delegates to book early in order to secure your preferred option. Queenstown also features a wide range of other accommodation options which delegates may choose to book directly. As Queenstown is such a popular tourist destination, we also encourage you to book flights early to secure the best fares.

World-renowned for its adventure, Queenstown is home to a huge choice of adrenaline-based activities including jetboating, bungy jumping, white water rafting and skydiving – all guaranteed to get your blood pumping!  There are also plenty of more relaxing activities on offer such as guided tours, wine tours, boat cruises, culture and heritage activities or a day trip to Milford Sound to make the most of your time in the region.

To register or more information, please visit the conference website

We look forward to seeing you at the conference.

Dr Jane Casey, Conference Co-convenor
Dr Elizabeth Fussell, Conference Co-convenor
Professor Brian Draper, Conference Co-convenor, IPA

Registrations Open: 6th Annual Neuropsychiatry and Behavioural Neurology Conference

The Organising Committee is pleased to advise that registrations are now open for the 6th Annual Neuropsychiatry and Behavioural Neurology Conference. The conference will be held at UNSW Sydney from Friday 27 to Saturday 28 October 2017.

Register now to secure your place.

The call for abstracts is also now open. For more information, please visit the conference website. Abstract submissions close at 5pm on Tuesday 15 August 2017.
The Organising Committee would also like to advise that the conference program is now available, which is based around the theme “Clinical Neuroscience Paradigms for 21st Century Practice”.

Keynote Speakers

We are delighted to have Professor Pankaj Sah, Professor Alan Mackay-Sim and Professor Ashley Bush as our keynote speakers.

Professor Pankaj Sah

Professor Sah is Director of the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) at The University of Queensland (UQ). He is renowned for his work in understanding the neural circuitry of the amygdala, an area of the brain that plays a central role in learning and memory formation. Dysfunction of the amygdala leads to a host of anxiety-related disorders. His laboratory uses a combination of molecular tools, electrophysiology, anatomical reconstruction, calcium imaging and behavioural studies to examine the electrophysiological signatures of different brain regions and their impact on disease. Recently, his laboratory has been working with patients undergoing electrode implantation for deep brain stimulation, which is used to treat a variety of disorders such as Parkinson's disease, Tourette's syndrome and essential tremor. Pankaj is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Nature Partner Journal npj Science of Learning, the first journal to bring together the findings of neuroscientists, psychologists, and education researchers to understand how the brain learns.  Professor Sah will also be joined by a number of invited speakers.

Professor Alan Mackay-Sim

2017 Australian of the Year Professor Alan Mackay-Sim is a neuroscientist and stem cell scientist. His research career has focused on how the sensory neurons in the nose are replaced and regenerated from stem cells. He is a world leader in spinal cord injury research. He led the Brisbane team in a world-first clinical trial in which the patient’s own olfactory cells were transplanted into their injured spinal cord in the first stages of a therapy to treat human paraplegia. Alan established the National Centre for Adult Stem Cell Research in 2006. He developed an adult stem cell bank from over 300 people with different neurological conditions including schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, mitochondrial mutation disorders, Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia, ataxia telangiectasia and motor neuron disease. These stem cells are used to identify the biological bases of neurological diseases using genomics, proteomics and cell function assays and this work is leading to new drug therapies.

Professor Ashley Bush

Professor Ashley Bush is Professor of Neuroscience and Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne, based at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health. He received his MB BS and PhD from the University of Melbourne, and performed post-doctoral research at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Harvard Medical School. He has clinical appointments in psychiatry and radiology at MGH and the Royal Melbourne Hospital. His research focuses on metals in the function and dysfunction of the brain. He has >390 publications and 29 patents, and several awards including the Potamkin Prize from the American Neurological Association, the Organon prizes from the RANZCP, and the 2014 Victoria Prize. He is currently listed in Thomson Reuters’ “World's Most Influential Scientific Minds”.

There are a wide range of accommodation options in Sydney.  Please note that there is no pre-booked accommodation options and delegates are encouraged to book early as Sydney gets busy over the weekend. 

Please register now to secure your place, or for more information, please visit the conference website.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Scientia Professor Perminder Sachdev
Clinical Director, Neuropsychiatric Institute (NPI)
Conference Convenor

Registrations Open: Victorian Branch Conference 2017

The Organising Committee is pleased to announce that registrations are now open for the annual Victorian Branch Conference 2017 to be held from Saturday 14 October to Sunday 15 October 2017 at the Vibe Hotel Marysville.

The annual conference is a key component of the Victorian Branch’s educational program for members, and represents fantastic value for money. The registration fee also includes a three course dinner including drinks and guest speaker, to be held at the conference venue on Saturday 14 October.

Registration fees:

  • Fellow/Affiliate A$450.00 (incl.GST) 
  • Registrar A$240.00 (incl.GST) 
  • Additional dinner tickets are available and can be purchased via the registration page

Located in one of the state's most scenic areas, Marysville is a popular destination to relax and explore the area's stunning attractions.

Conference registration will open on Friday 13 October (between 5-6pm) and prior to presentations on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 October.

The conference program includes an array of compelling interstate and local speakers including:

  • Professor George Patton: The Murdoch Research Institute at the Royal Children’s Hospital
  • Dr Douglas Bell: former Clinical Director at Forensicare
  • Associate Professor Josephine Beatson: an Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne with a particular interest in the understanding and treatment of severe personality disorders
  • Professor Anne Buist - Director of Women’s Mental Health at Austin Health / Northpark Private Hospital

Visit the conference website to register and book accommodation.

Please note this is a sponsorship-free event.

Stay tuned for further program updates.

I look forward to seeing you at this year's conference.

 Dr Kerryn Rubin, Conference Convenor


Confidential advice is available to all members of the RANZCP. Call the Member Welfare Support Line on 1800 941 002 (AUS) or 0800 220 784 (NZ) for support on any issue that affects your physical or mental wellbeing. Please be aware that this service operates between 8.30am – 5pm AEST Monday–Friday (or call out of hours and leave a message to receive a call-back).

The RANZCP acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land, and pays respect to Elders past, present and future.

The RANZCP Committee for Training wishes to acknowledge the lived experience of mental health difficulty amid our trainees, affiliates and Fellows, their families and friends. We recognise the immense insight this provides us in our capacity to care for others, while also asking for vigilance and thoughtful recognition of our own humanity, and the need at times to ask for assistance.

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