Trainee matters updates from Ava - June

It’s invigorating seeing the whirlwind of activity within the College these last 2 months.

The opening of the NSW Branch on the 16th of February was a wonderful event. It was a privilege to experience the smoking ceremony in person for the opening of Maddison House’s renovations. It was also wonderful to hear the stories from staff and consultants who had spent many years calling Maddison House their training home. Some spoke of the illuminating psychotherapy supervision sessions they used to have in the old lecture rooms, and others detailed the intricate architectural designs the old Victorian dwelling still enamours its visitors with.

On the 17th February Conscious Governance attended the board meeting which was held in NSW at the new Branch headquarters as part of the evaluation of the Board and the College’s governance processes. Many key issues were discussed, including the progress of our Reconciliation Action Plan and the Lived Experience Strategy. The executive team and College members involved are working extremely hard on delivering these important projects in a safe, respectful, and considerate manner. I will have an update at our next TAC meeting and hope to write about it in our next column as well.

On the 22nd of February I attended the Senate Environment and Communications Committee public hearing for the Duty of Care inquiry as a witness for the RANZCP. It was eye opening to hear the other speakers and learn about the impact that climate change and increasingly frequent weather disasters is having upon Australians, ranging from their mental health to their physical and housing safety. It was perhaps most inspiring to see the Australian Medical Students Association represent the future of our healthcare leaders and medical workforce.

Our Practice, Policy, and Partnerships Committee also continues to make strides in the College’s journey to enhance culture to manifest genuine attention, transparency, and responsiveness to trainee concerns. Position statement 48 has five key domains including: safe workplaces, positive team cultures, positive professional peer relationships, supportive supervision and mentorship and work-life balance. When TAC and BCT met in February (and soon in April), a lot of the discussions were around practical ways the College can continue and begin to provide scaffolding so these domains can be met. The main topics included effective examinations, optimising workforce in rural and urban areas, good quality formal education courses and quality training for supervisors.

I also want to shine some light on the progress that continues to be made on implementing our College’s Gender Equity Action Plan. The plan contains 36 actions over 5 years with eight actions having been completed and 21 in progress. I very much look forward to hearing Professor Megan Galbally speak to Gender equity in Psychiatry at the Congress in May about the College’s progress and what the future holds.

On the 21st of March, Close the Gap Day signalled the increasing importance of the need to address the ongoing inequities in access to primary mental health care for our First Nations community members. People in lower socioeconomic areas or regional areas continue to have lower access to MBS subsidised mental health services and First Nations people also have disproportionately higher use of emergency mental health services, pointing to failures in meeting the needs of First Nations communities. The Lowitja Institute’s Close the Gap campaign report 2024 is a crucial read for everyone, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.



Dr Ava Carter

Appointed Director, Trainee

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