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Friday, 31 March 2017 11:17

The following submissions were recently made from the College to NSW Health and the Medical Council of New Zealand.

RANZCR response on the NSW Health Draft Model Scope of Practice for Radiation Oncology
RANZCR response on NSW Health Draft Model Scope of Practice in Radiation Oncology

RANZCR response to the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) on strengthening recertification for vocationally registered doctors
20170310 RANZCR Feedback for MCNZ on strengthening recertification for vocationally registered doctors

To read these and other submissions, visit the Submissions page 

Thursday, 30 March 2017 16:05

Australian researchers are celebrating the results of a new clinical trial1, which shows that radiation therapy for prostate cancer can safely be compressed from a standard eight weeks of daily treatment down to four weeks with the same cure rate and no difference in side effects.

Radiation therapy is a proven treatment option for many men diagnosed with prostate cancer. Treatment is safe, effective, non-invasive and done as an outpatient. With modern techniques the risk of side effects is low. A standard course is often given five days a week over eight weeks, which can make treatment challenging for some men. This is especially true if they live in regional parts of Australia. New technologies allow more accurate and highly focussed radiation therapy. This potentially opens the door to giving a slightly bigger dose each day and completing the treatment faster.

Associate Professor Jarad Martin, of the Calvary Mater Newcastle, is the Australian Trial Chair of the Trans Tasman Radiation Oncology Group (TROG), which directly compared an 8 week standard treatment course with a 4 week alternative. The international project, involving Canadian and French researchers, included over 1200 men with a common type of prostate cancer termed ‘intermediate risk disease’. After several years of monitoring these men, A/Prof Martin and his collaborators have announced that there was no difference between cure rates or side effects between the 8 and 4 week groups. On the basis of this long awaited information, many Australian cancer centres are now beginning to offer a four week radiation therapy program as a standard treatment option for men with prostate cancer.

A/Prof Martin sees many upsides: "The duration of treatment is a major issue for many of our patients. The message from them is that the shorter the treatment period the better. There are also economic benefits to shorter treatment times which reduce hospital workload and costs as well as the time off work and transport for men and their families. Radiation therapy is already a safe and effective treatment option for men with prostate cancer. PROFIT is another step in us exploring novel ways to make a good treatment more convenient," said A/Prof Martin

According to A/Prof Martin, many Australian patients are concerned at what they see as long treatment times for radiation. "Patients will sometimes hesitate if told the radiation treatment could last two months. But now we can offer treatment that lasts just four weeks and many patients are opting for that," said A/Prof Martin

PROFIT was co-funded by the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and Cancer Australia, and run in Australia under the auspices of the Trans Tasman Radiation Oncology Group (TROG).

1. Randomised trial of a hypofractionated radiation regimen for the treatment of localised prostate cancer. J of Clinical Oncology. March, 2017. See: http://ascopubs.org/doi/pdf/10.1200/JCO.2016.71.7397

Wednesday, 29 March 2017 16:18

MEDIA STATEMENT

29 March 2017

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR) has released a revised version of guidelines for clinical radiologists about best practice in relation to clinical radiology reports.

Clinical radiologists are specialists who conduct imaging procedures and play an important role in making informed patient diagnosis and treatment. Clinical advice from radiologists contributes to better health outcomes by supporting other clinicians to make decisions, help them to identify what is wrong and prevent unnecessary investigations.

Valued members of any patient management team, they communicate their interpretation of imaging findings, diagnosis and treatment options, predominantly through a written report. The quality of the written report has a direct impact on the decisions to be made about treatment; whether further investigation is required and the way that the healthcare team safely manages the treatment of patients.
The Quality Radiology Written Report Guidelines are a free resource available to advise clinical radiologists, referring clinicians and others on best practice during creation of reports on imaging studies. The guidelines apply to all types of imaging (e.g. X-ray, ultrasound, CT, MRI, nuclear medicine) performed in Australia and New Zealand. Following public consultation on these guidelines in early 2016, an updated version is now available for use.

These updated guidelines will provide clinical radiologists with essential criteria and clearer recommendations to ensure that their interpretation of imaging procedures is communicated to patients, through their referrers, in a succinct and comprehensive manner. Referrers can also use the guidelines to better understand the key points and information a report should contain.

The format of the report, what the written report’s content should constitute as well as the style of expression in the writing are also contained in the guidelines. There are also suggestions on the length of the report, the terminology to be used and the template to be adopted for the report.

An interactive module to educate trainees on writing quality reports is also being developed by the College. It will review important factors that impact on report quality, with material drawn from these guidelines. Member radiologists will be notified, when the module is released on the RANZCR Learning Portal. There are also plans for the module to be incorporated into the Clinical Radiology Training Program in due course.

A copy of the guidelines is available here: www.ranzcr.edu.au/resources/professional-documents/guidelines

Notes to editors
RANZCR would like to acknowledge the efforts of the Quality Radiology Written Reports Working Group and extend thanks to;
Dr Felicity Pool (Chair), Dr Aparna Baruah, Dr Kirsti Lee, Dr Felix Paterson, Dr Pramod Phadke and Dr Miranda Siemienowicz who worked hard in consultation with the Safety, Quality and Standards Committee and the Faculty of Clinical Radiology Council to prepare the guidelines.

For media enquiries please contact Neena Mairata on 02 9268 9771.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR) has

released a revised version of guidelines for clinical radiologists about best practice in

relation to clinical radiology reports.

Clinical radiologists are specialists who conduct imaging procedures and play an

important role in making informed patient diagnosis and treatment. Clinical advice from

radiologists contributes to better health outcomes by supporting other clinicians to

make decisions, help them to identify what is wrong and prevent unnecessary

investigations.

Valued members of any patient management team, they communicate their

interpretation of imaging findings, diagnosis and treatment options, predominantly

through a written report. The quality of the written report has a direct impact on the

decisions to be made about treatment; whether further investigation is required and the

way that the healthcare team safely manages the treatment of patients.

The Quality Radiology Written Report Guidelines are a free resource available to

advise clinical radiologists, referring clinicians and others on best practice during

creation of reports on imaging studies. The guidelines apply to all types of imaging

(e.g. X-ray, ultrasound, CT, MRI, nuclear medicine) performed in Australia and New

Zealand. Following public consultation on these guidelines in early 2016, an updated

version is now available for use.

These updated guidelines will provide clinical radiologists with essential criteria and

clearer recommendations to ensure that their interpretation of imaging procedures is

communicated to patients, through their referrers, in a succinct and comprehensive

manner. Referrers can also use the guidelines to better understand the key points and

information a report should contain.

The format of the report, what the written report’s content should constitute as well as

the style of expression in the writing are also contained in the guidelines. There are

also suggestions on the length of the report, the terminology to be used and the

template to be adopted for the report.

An interactive module to educate trainees on writing quality reports is also being

developed by the College. It will review important factors that impact on report quality,

with material drawn from these guidelines. Member radiologists will be notified, when

the module is released on the RANZCR Learning Portal. There are also plans for the

module to be incorporated into the Clinical Radiology Training Program in due course.

A copy of the guidelines is available on the RANZCR website

www.ranzcr.edu.au/resources/professional-documents/guidelines

Monday, 27 March 2017 08:57

Recruitment to The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR) accredited training programme within New Zealand is through an annual national recruitment programme, facilitated by the New Zealand Branch office.

The programme is designed to find and appoint the very best medical graduates to undergo clinical radiology and radiation oncology training in New Zealand. It is based on a standardised procedure that provides a fair application process for both the applicants and their employers.

Applications for the Training Programme are now open.

For further information on the RANZCR training programme click here

Thursday, 09 March 2017 09:00

MEDIA STATEMENT

8 March 2017

A coalition of peak organisations with expertise in the diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care of people with breast cancer have agreed on a Statement of Principles aiming to promote best practice in imaging of breast cancer.

Australians diagnosed with breast cancer encounter many different diagnostic imaging services – mammography, diagnostic ultrasound, ultrasound-guided biopsy or fine needle aspiration, MRI and localising procedures.

The journey is often confusing, expensive and distressing due to the complexity of the current Medicare funding schedule and rules.

The Statement of Principles calls on the Australian Government to address four key issues that affect patients:

 Unfreeze and increase Medicare patient rebates

 Remove the multiple services rule

 Expand access to breast MRI

 Improve onsite radiologist supervision

"Medical imaging is a critical component of breast cancer care. It is essential that all patients can access these services," said Professor John Slavotinek, Dean of Faculty of Clinical Radiology.

"Patient rebates for diagnostic imaging have been frozen for 18 years resulting in increasing out of pocket costs for patients and this needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency," said Dr Christian Wriedt, President of the Australian Diagnostic Imaging Association.

The coalition will be asking members of the Government, and other parties, to support the Statement of Principles and improve quality care for breast cancer patients.

For media enquiries please contact Neena Mairata on 02 9268 9771

View the Statement of Principles

Read the Press Release

 

 

Monday, 06 March 2017 11:38

Nominations for the 2017 AMA Public Health Awards are now open.

The Public Health Awards provides well-deserved recognition of the extraordinary contribution doctors and associated health groups make to health care and public health.  In 2017, the AMA is calling for nominations for awards in the following categories:

    • AMA Excellence in Healthcare Award
    • Woman in Medicine Award (nominator and nominee must both be AMA members)
    • Women's Health Award
    • Men's Health Award
    • Youth Health Award

All nominations must be received by the AMA by 19 April 2017.  A full description of the criteria for nominations is available on the AMA website at https://ama.com.au/article/ama-public-health-awards

Monday, 06 March 2017 10:45

Women & Leadership Australia (WLA) is administering a national initiative to support the development of female leaders across Australia’s health sector.

The initiative is providing women with grants to enable participation in a range of leadership development programs.

The leadership development programs are part-time and delivered nationally via WLA’s blended learning model. Scholarship funding is strictly limited and will be awarded based on a set of selection criteria being met.

Expressions of Interest
Find out more and register your interest by completing the Expression of Interest form prior to March 30, 2017: www.wla.edu.au/scholarships/health.html

Please contact Wafa Ahmed at the office of the National Industry Scholarship Program, WLA on (03) 9270 9030 or via wahmed@wla.edu.au for more details.

Friday, 03 March 2017 12:45

The Phase 1 Foundation Course and Exam Preparation Course will be taking place at Rydges World Square, Sydney, NSW 15 – 18 June 2017. The course is designed for Phase 1 trainees who are aiming to sit the Phase 1 exams.

Registration Fee: Foundation Course - $880.00 incl. GST per trainee Phase 1 Exam Preparation Course - $1,100.00 incl. GST per trainee

Registration includes morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and refreshments throughout the duration of the course. A cocktail reception will be held on the Saturday evening of the course and is included in the registration fee. To register for the course and for further information click here.

Friday, 24 February 2017 08:43

MEDIA RELEASE
24 February 2017

Cancer patients requiring brachytherapy, a special type of radiation therapy, stand to lose access to this cancer treatment if proposed changes from a government funding scheme are implemented.

Radiation oncologists attending the Australasian Brachytherapy Group (ABG) 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting have noted the changes to the Radiation Oncology Health Program Grants (ROHPG) Scheme will reduce patient access to cancer treatment, specifically for brachytherapy.

Brachytherapy is effective for many cancers including gynaecological cancers and prostate cancer. Brachytherapy—which is an internal form of radiation therapy given directly into the cancerous tissues—kills the cancer cells and avoids the need for a major operation. In gynaecological cancers, it is also used after a hysterectomy to stop the cancer coming back.

61 year old James Bradford, an engineer in the NSW rural fire service, says brachytherapy saved his life.

"There is no doubt that brachytherapy was the best treatment for me. The benefits of brachytherapy are nothing short of fantastic, to date I have had absolutely no side effects since I first had treatment in April 2010. I was so lucky that I heard about all the treatment options for prostate cancer," said Mr Bradford.

James was diagnosed with intermediate risk prostate cancer in September 2009 after his PSA blood test result started rising. After seeing a surgeon and a radiation oncologist, James decided that he did not want to have surgery and opted for brachytherapy.

"When you are faced with a life-threatening health issue, the best gift for a patient is to have all the alternatives outlined to them. They should have the opportunity to be fully informed about the potential options, before deciding for themselves which treatment they prefer," said Mr Bradford.

Nearly 7 years after treatment with brachytherapy, it looks like James is cured of the cancer. He loves his job and continues working long hours with the fire-fighting teams extinguishing blazes in rural NSW resulting from the recent heatwave. He has absolutely no side effects from the brachytherapy and has maintained normal urinary, bowel and sexual function.

The ROHPG scheme has been instrumental in funding the many essential capital components of radiation therapy service in both the public and private sectors, by providing patient access to advanced treatment techniques, improving cancer cure rates and reducing side effects.

A critical component of cancer care, radiation therapy could benefit one in two cancer patients as long as they have access to it. It is a crucial part of treatment in around 40% of cancer cures. Radiation oncologists are particularly concerned that some of the proposed changes to the scheme involve the cessation of funding for items such as specialised brachytherapy equipment.

"The effectiveness of brachytherapy in the treatment of prostate cancer has been highlighted in numerous scientific studies. It has been proven as a treatment option which has one of the lowest rates of long-term side effects and very high rates of cancer control. Access to modern brachytherapy equipment is vital in ensuring optimal care for prostate cancer patients," said A/Prof Jeremy Millar, Director of Radiation Oncology, Alfred Health.

"In the absence of ROHPG support, it is highly unlikely that radiation therapy facilities will be able to invest in essential brachytherapy equipment given the relatively high maintenance costs to facilities. For many women with cervix and endometrial cancers this will have a devastating impact on the ability to deliver safe, up to date brachytherapy treatment which is the standard of care for many of these cancers around the world. In other words, equipment will certainly deteriorate or malfunction and will almost certainly lead to suboptimal care and poor outcomes for patients," said A/Prof Michael Jackson, Chair ABG.

"The impact of the proposed changes will be felt heavily in both the public and private sectors, but there is a real risk that vital yet complex services required to treat smaller numbers of patients say, with gynaecological cancers which are currently available in the private sector will close and increase the burden on the public sector in the respective states."

"This in turn will have adverse consequences and compromise patient access, particularly in non-metropolitan areas – ultimately, threatening access to modern radiation therapy equipment and resulting in a profound impact on the delivery of cancer care in Australia overall, especially considering the increasing cancer rates expected in the ageing population," said A/Prof Dion Forstner, Dean Faculty of Radiation Oncology, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists.

For more information about the Australasian Brachytherapy Group please visit www.abg.org.au

For more about radiation therapy and brachytherapy in particular go to http://www.targetingcancer.com.au/radiation-therapy/brachytherapy/brachytherapy-for-prostate-cancer/

For media enquiries please contact Neena Mairata on 02 9268 9771

Read the press release  RANZCR ABG Brachytherapy Cuts Media Release

 

Wednesday, 22 February 2017 09:02

The Department of Health and Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges have launched a new initiative to provide rural and remote specialists in Australia with access to professional support and training opportunities. The program, titled Support for Rural Specialists in Australia (SRSA), supersedes the successful Rural Health Continuing Education (RHCE) Stream One program which distributed College Project Grants and Individual Specialist CPD Grants between 2010 and 2015.

SRSA is offering funding to rural and remote specialists in the form of Individual Specialist CPD grant. Applications for these grants are now open and close on 31 March 2017.

For the complete Funding Round 1 guidelines and application forms, go to www.ruralspecialist.org.au