President's Column February 2024

It’s been a big month on the media and advocacy front as the College published the findings from our Australian pulse check survey on the psychiatry workforce. It showed that 9 in 10 psychiatrists in Australia are concerned about workforce shortages negatively impacting patient care, and 7 in 10 experienced symptoms of burnout in the past three years. 

The workforce shortage is the most critical issue in our mental health system today, and it can have a long-lasting, devastating impact on patient outcomes. Which is why the core focus of our Australian 2024–25 pre-budget submission is urgent and sustainable investment to grow the psychiatry workforce. You can read more about our advocacy campaign which has garnered strong media coverage so far. 

Addressing the workforce shortage in Aotearoa New Zealand is a top priority for the College and has been the focus of our advocacy and submissions over the past year; and pre-budget submissions focused on workforce issues have also been made to various state governments in Australia.

I’d like to thank everyone involved for their hard work and support.

In other news, we have recently published new guidance for members in relation to the College and social media. As members increasingly use social media to connect with each other, it’s important for all of us to remember that the same standards of professional behaviour that are expected in person also apply when participating through social media (including in closed groups). AHPRA has also updated its social media guidance providing examples of social media activities that are likely/unlikely to warrant an investigation. I encourage members to be mindful of these guidelines, and engage with each other respectfully and professionally on social media. 

We continue to progress our work to meet the standards, conditions and recommendations of the 2023 AMC Accreditation Report. A comprehensive report outlining our progress was submitted in September 2023, and we expect to receive a response by late March. The College also met with representatives from the Australian Medical Council last month, and a focal point of this discussion was the proposed reform of assessments. Further information is available on the Accreditation webpage.

The College is embarking on a three-year project to transform the Formal Education Courses experience for psychiatry trainees. This is based on the findings of a comprehensive external review as well as feedback from College trainees, Directors of Training and other stakeholders. It also reaffirms our commitment to providing trainees with the best possible education and empowering future psychiatrists. We’ll continue to consult with members as we progress this work. 

RANZCP trainees continue to make remarkable contributions towards improving mental health and furthering various College initiatives. In this month’s Psyche, we feature two such trainees: Dr Chloe Boateng, winner of the 2023 Beverley Raphael New Investigator Grant, and Dr Ashna Basu, who is part of the RANZCP Committee for Research.

For College Fellows and Affiliates, the RANZCP serves as your CPD Home, offering access to exclusive resources and support, and fostering a career of lifelong learning. Our CPD program encompasses everything you need to successfully complete your continuing professional development requirements each year. The start of a new year is a good time to consider what’s on offer and plan your CPD activities.

And finally, in the lead up to International Women's Day next month, the College is hosting a special webinar on work flexibility in healthcare on 6 March, in collaboration with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Australasian College of Dermatologists. March is also Women’s History Month; the Psych Matters podcast team is collaborating with Women in Psychiatry to feature interviews with inspirational women in psychiatry every week starting 1 March. You can subscribe to Psych Matters now and join us in celebrating the achievements of these trailblazing women.


Dr Elizabeth Moore
RANZCP President

 

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