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13 Apr 2016

New RANZCP Board of Directors announced

In March 2016, RANZCP Fellows elected the incoming Board Directors who will serve the College during the 2016-2018 term. The RANZCP Board comprises the President, the President Elect, and five elected Directors.

The RANZCP congratulates the newly-elected Directors Dr Margaret Aimer, Associate Professor John Allan, Professor David Castle, Associate Professor Saji Damodaran and Dr Peter Jenkins who will assume office for a two-year term at the conclusion of the College’s Annual General Meeting in May 2016. The RANZCP President Professor Malcolm Hopwood, and President Elect Dr Kym Jenkins will remain in their positions until May 2017.

Primary Health Networks (PHNs)

A Mental Health Reform Stakeholder Group has been established to support sector engagement, inform implementation issues and enable feedback to the Department of Health and Primary Health Networks (PHNs). The RANZCP President, Professor Malcolm Hopwood is the RANZCP representative to this group. The group has discussed the importance of not only providing detailed guidance to PHNs, but also ensuring information flows over time to the broader non-government sector about reforms, and to support mental health professionals as partners in implementation of the reform process.  A package of detailed guidance material is being developed to assist PHNs in the successful delivery of system change reforms.  The guidance material is intended to support the delivery of key mental health objectives while allowing for flexibility and innovation.

PHN lead sites are also being established to trial more complex aspects of the stepped care approach and to inform broader roll out in later years.  An Expression of Interest process has been undertaken to select the lead sites and applications are currently being assessed.  Selection of sites will aim to provide coverage across multiple jurisdictions and across metropolitan and rural areas, and enable development of several packages of care (including for youth); low intensity service models; and innovative models of stepped care.

RANZCP member welfare initiatives

In April 2015 the RANZCP Board established a Trainee Welfare Working Group, chaired by the President, to review current issues facing psychiatry trainees and document the range of support measures that are available in Australia and New Zealand.

The Working Group’s report was finalised in late 2015 together with a suite of recommendations to be implemented during 2016-17. These include developing a comprehensive and accessible resource list for all trainees, which includes all welfare services available; ensuring wellbeing is included in all College programs; identifying best practice workplace standards and local initiatives that may increase trainee welfare and workplace support; implementing a confidential member support line within the College; and updating all letter templates and the timing of processes for correspondence to trainees.

Trainee welfare remains a priority for many individual committees within the College and rightly has been a major area of focus in recent times.

RANZCP pre-budget submission

In February, the RANZCP made a submission to the Department of the Treasury on mental health priorities for the 2016-17 Australian budget. The submission outlined a strategic framework and practical initiatives for investment in mental health that will help address some of the existing problems in mental health service funding and coverage with far reaching and long term advantages that will benefit both the health of the Australian population and the economy.

RANZCP Section of Private Practice Psychiatry

Current priorities and initiatives of the RANZCP’s Section of Private Practice Psychiatry include raising awareness of Item 291, developing a referral letter template from GPs to psychiatrists, finalising a shared care pathways document, providing input into the RANZCP’s confidentiality of clinical records project, and producing informed financial consent guidelines. Updates on these activities will be provided in future editions of the newsletter.

New resources for the community on eating disorders

As part of its commitment to improving the mental health of the community, the RANZCP has released new resources, including a webpage and public guide, to provide information and advice to members of the community on eating disorders.

The webpage presents information in the form of an FAQ including questions such as: ‘What are the symptoms of an eating disorder?’, ‘Why do people get eating disorders?’ and ‘How can a psychiatrist help with an eating disorder?’. The webpage also houses the Eating Disorders Guide, which covers the most common eating disorders in adults, teenagers and children. The guide was produced by psychiatrists, based on the best available evidence and with input from consumer and carer representatives. It includes information about care and treatment for people with an eating disorder, or who think they might have an eating disorder, as well as information for family, friends and carers.

Visit the eating disorders webpage and access the RANZCP’s Eating Disorders Guide [PDF; 284KB].

Clinical practice guidelines (2014) [PDF; 676 KB], specifically for psychiatrists and other clinicians who care for people with eating disorders are also available.

New guidance for health professionals working in Australian immigration detention centres

The RANZCP has released its newest professional practice guideline titled Guidance for psychiatrists working in Australian immigration detention centres. The guideline was developed in response to concern that the capacity of psychiatrists and trainees to provide high quality mental healthcare and to practice ethically and effectively in detention centres is currently limited, particularly in the context of the possible interpretation of the Australian Border Force Act 2015 (Cth).

Updated alcohol policy released

The RANZCP and the RACP jointly launched their revised Alcohol Policy in March 2016. The policy highlights the influence that alcohol is having on individuals, families and communities and makes recommendations regarding how its impact can be reduced.

Practical guide for working with carers of people with a mental illness

The launch of a practical guide for working with carers of people with a mental illness was hosted at the RANZCP headquarters in Melbourne on 24 March 2016. Funded by Mind Australia and Mental Health Carers Arafmi (WA) Inc, the guide draws on previous work undertaken in Australia and internationally and can be accessed online

Published: 13 Apr 2016