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August 2022

As Medical Leaders we have a critical role in raising professional standards and building a positive, respectful culture in medicine. This not only applies within our workplaces but across the various colleges and organisations of which we are members – especially RACMA.

As medical professionals with responsibilities for system governance, people, performance, ethical practice, and preventing and resolving conflict – then it should be RACMA Members who lead by example and provide positive role modelling.

If we are serious about increasing RACMA’s visibility, presence and influence in healthcare decision-making and advocacy at the highest level across Australasia, then the reputation of our values and behaviours must precede us.

If we want to be treated with respect, we must project the values and beliefs that we believe in and hold each other, our colleagues and peers to account. As the saying goes the behaviour you walk past is the standard you accept.

I remind everyone to not lose sight of our Core values as we go about our everyday duties:

  • Professionalism (Demonstrating self-governance, high standards and ethical behaviour)
  • Integrity (Doing the right thing in all situations)
  • Excellence (Striving for outstanding achievement despite constraints)
  • Respect (Acknowledging and valuing others’ thoughts, opinions, and feeling)

I have said it before and will continue to do so. There is also much to be said about being open to the value of kindness in healthcare and the ripple effect of a simple act which can make such a difference.

This also extends to the team in the College Office who continue to undertake a very large amount of work on behalf of the membership and our committees. Each staff member puts in a lot of effort and dedication well beyond their position descriptions. They have been employed, like us, for their expertise and knowledge.

In saying this, they too deserve respect and acknowledgement. We need to keep this at the forefront of every interaction with the team so as not to unravel all the good which has been achieved and also to create a respectful culture within our whole College.

Behind the scenes it is the College Office team members who ensure our training posts are properly accredited, the exams run smoothly, they help new entrants navigate the application processes, build and develop relationships with external stakeholders and other specialty colleges and support College members. The list goes on.

We need to be mindful that these professionals enable us to lead as a College by bringing all the work together to achieve the College’s strategic goals and vision. It is their skills and experience which help the College grow and remain relevant while increasing our influence as Medical Leaders across the health system.

We have a long journey to create real change, and if we are to achieve that together, we need to stop talking about it and start acting now – within our workplaces and professional associations, and in our communities. Start taking decisive action to address specific incidents and call out behaviour that is not consistent with professional standards no matter who the individual is.

On the College front, I am pleased to say a specific Code of Conduct in relation to Leadership and Management is being developed by Policy and Advocacy Lead Fellow Dr Mary Boyd Turner.

Discussed at this month’s board meeting, the Code of Conduct document outlines expected behaviours and actions of Members towards patients, colleagues and employees within their workplaces and in the communities. The Code also covers breaches of and concerns about professionalism and good practice.

Once this document has been signed off by the Board, all Members will have clearly articulated professional standards, which supplement the Medical Board of Australia’s Good Medical Practice: a code of conduct for doctors in Australia and the Medical Council of New Zealand’s Good Medical Practice.

A small working group will also be formed to work on establishing a Professional Standards Committee which will develop, oversee and implement policies and procedures relating to professional standards.

Another key piece of work presented at the recent Board meeting was the Scope of Practice in Medical Administration, which was approved subject to some minor agreed amendments being made. This work has been the product of many hours of work of several Members and College staff, led by Member Services and Engagement Lead Fellow, Dr David Rankin.

The Scope of Practice, which covers nine core dimensions of practice for a Medical Leader, allows the College to enunciate the core role and contribution of Medical Leaders within the health system, using standardised language throughout.

Once finalised it will:

I am pleased the Board approved the reappointment of Independent Board Director Adj Prof Gillian Biscoe for a second three-year term (2022-2025). Gillian is the current Chair of the Policy and Advocacy Committee and brings a wealth of governance experience, especially in the healthcare system across Australasia. We look forward to continuing to work with Gillian.

It is wonderful to see the number of Fellows who have nominated to become a member of the College Board. It is a true reflection of their passion to contribute to the continued development of RACMA and the Medical Leadership specialty. I encourage all Fellows to participate in this important College process.

I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate our latest Candidates who passed their Oral Examination. Much time and effort goes into preparing for the exams and I would like to thank all those involved who make it happen – from the Supervisors and Preceptors who support their Candidates along the journey, to our Censors, Censor-in-Chief and College Office. It is a rigorous process to ensure our Candidates are prepared for Fellowship. To those who were not successful this time, please reach out to your support network to assist with preparation for the next exam.

Finally – don’t forget to register for RACMA 2022 at

As always, if you have any ideas or feedback about the future direction of the College and its work, please email me –

Kind regards

Dr Helen Parsons CSC FRACMA

RACMA President