Trainee matters updates from Ava and Ed

There’s been a lot happening already, and it’s not even the end of January!

The floods in QLD have been particularly difficult for affected communities, first with cyclone Jasper and now Kirrily. It is clear there is work for us to do surrounding climate change advocacy regarding the impact of climate events the community’s mental health. This is particularly important in child and adolescent mental health. Research in the last few years has shown how climate events have direct and indirect effects on children’s physical and mental health, and the symbiotic link between these factors is increasingly important to advocate for from an individual and organisational point of view. The TAC and the BCT are keen to see this topic become a regular discussion point and as we move through 2024, I hope to focus more on this as well. It is a fine balance between the rich in person discussions that we have as colleagues and the importance of reducing unnecessary fossil fuel consumption. Considering this, the TAC and BCT, alongside other College committees, are moving to less face-to-face meetings to reduce our carbon footprint.

On the October 23, 2023 I attended the Sexual Harassment in Medicine Conference convened by Professor Louise Stone, which brought together 120 attendees, from all Colleges and disciplines as well as a variety of organisations, including Law, Medical Education (Universities, Colleges, Hospitals), Medical Defence Organisations, Medical Boards, Advocacy groups. It sought to address how we as a medical profession can protect those harmed by sexual harassment and sexual assault, assist if they wish for assistance, and nurture and support in positive ways. Professor Stone’s research aims to develop new policy and pathways to achieve some of these aims, and whilst there is a long way to go, this is a start. I met some really inspiring young medical students and was heartened to see that the passion for wellbeing and promoting health within doctors was not lost, despite COVID and the incredible stress that the last few years has brought. I would welcome anyone who wishes to reach out to me directly should you wish to confidentially seek further information for yourself.

Since October, multiple teams within the College have been working hard on implementing some changes to the way stage 1 trainees are introduced to our College. There is new content on Learnit being produced specifically to offer a better experience for those starting out their training journeys. Additionally, part of this positive change process is seeing through the implementation and impact of a fairer and more equitable fee structure, which to date has enabled 709 trainees to take up the new part time fee option.

This year will also require a heavy focus on working together to meet our College re-accreditation requirements set by the Australian Medical Council.

In December 2023, the Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Mark Butler MP announced an investment of $456.7 million to continue and extend funding for national crisis and support services. This will occur over 5 years and will include Lifeline and its 13YARN service for First Nations Australians, Beyond Blue and Kids Helpline. This was fantastic news to hear just before Christmas.

This year will also require a heavy focus on working together to meet our College re-accreditation requirements set by the Australian Medical Council. The Board will meet in mid-February to continue discussions around what the next steps are to progressing through our plans and ensuring we continue to represent excellence in psychiatry and lead the way for positive change for our community’s mental health in Australia and New Zealand.

Finally, I would also like to take a moment to make a shameless plug for the next annual Congress which will be held in Canberra. I am getting more and more excited with each organising committee meeting. Every Congress is also an exciting place to meet our future psychiatrists via the Psychiatry Interest Forum (PIF) program and (most importantly) to socialise!



More news & views