Rural Health Continuing Education (RHCE) is an initiative of the Committe of Presidents of Medical Colleges and the Australian Government.
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Rural Health Continuing Education (RHCE) is an
initiative of the Committee of Presidents of Medical Colleges and the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.

Each Specialist College contributes to the operation and management of the scheme.

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Contact Rural Health
Continuing Education (RHCE)

Email RHCE
Phone 02 9256 5419
Visit the RHCE Web Site

RHCE Stream One looking forward to 2012

  - wishes you a Joyous Festive Season

RHCE Stream One Funding Round Three Recipients

The Committee of Presidents of Medical Colleges (CPMC) is pleased to announce the successful applicants from the third round of funding under RHCE Stream One.

Individual Grants: Funding has been awarded to 14 individual specialists who live and work in rural and remote locations to support their access to CPD; and
Project Grants: Six grants for new projects have been awarded to six Medical Specialist Colleges to develop and deliver CPD activities that meet the needs of medical specialists in rural and remote areas of Australia. Several of these projects include workshops and activities that will be applicable to more than one specialty audience. Additional funding was also awarded for the enhancement of four projects currently being funded under the RHCE Stream One Program. 

The six project applications that have been shortlisted for funding are:

1. e-Learning Library The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR)

2. Special Interest Group Poster Symposium  Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA)

3. Continuing Professional Development in Indigenous Cardiovascular Health The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP)

4. Intercultural Medicine for Medical Specialists Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS)

5. Indigenous Patients in Critical Care - Communication, Consent and Organ Donation Issues  College of Intensive Care Medicine (CICM)

6. Update in Paediatric Aspects of Pathology Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA)

The four current Projects awarded additional funding are:

1. Rural Outcome Measurement Enhancement ROME FR1 Project #6 The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP)

2. Rural Procedural Audit FR1 Project #7 Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS)

3. Indigenous Health and Cultural Competency Online Portal FR1 Project #8 Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS)

4. Australian Indigenous Health E-Learning Modules FR1 Project #9 Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS)

Visit our website for further information on these and other projects funded by previous funding rounds 

Opening of next funding round for Individual Grants

Call for applications for Funding Round Four for individual specialist grants is now open and will close on 29 February 2012.

The RHCE Guidelines and application forms are available on the RHCE website. Please read them carefully to ensure that your application satisfies all the selection criteria.

Individual Grants are available for up to $10,000 to rural and remote medical specialists to support up to five days of CPD activites.                      

All applications must be lodged via Specialist Medical Colleges and they will have earlier deadlines to enable a review of applications. College contact details are provided in the RHCE guidelines.

The Value of an Individual Grant

Feedback from RHCE individual grant recipients has shown this funding has not only helped them meet their learning objectives, but has helped maintain their practice standards. 

“The RHCE grant gave me an opportunity to attend a meeting of international standards, meet potential research partners, exchange new concepts and techniques with world class surgeons and further advance my medical education”                      Mr Richard Kjar - Orthopaedic Surgeon based in Wangaratta, Victoria

"I am the regional psychiatrist for the Kimberleys, which is one of the most isolated regions of Western Australia. I am almost 2,000km from Darwin and Perth and there are very few opporunities for face to face interaction with colleagues.The grant provided me with an opportunity to compare my practice with metropolitan colleagues and disseminate what we have achieved in terms of improving safety and quality in health care. Further, I learnt about other initiatives being undertaken and I really enjoyed being able to see colleagues face to face. I have gained much benefit as a result of the funding under RHCE"   A/Prof. Sivasankaran Balaratnasingham

Rural and Remote in Alice Springs

Ultrasound Training in Alice Springs Hospital

Staffing levels in any rural and remote location are always stretched - so being able to spare even one staff member to go away and attend a training workshop invariably creates problems, particularly for departments such as the ICU or ED.

On a recent site visit to Alice Springs Hospital the RHCE Program Management Unit was able to see how funding has made it possible to bring Ultrasound and Echocardiography training on site with several benefits:

  • Training and up-skilling is available to whole teams and across the specialties
  • It is possible to adapt and compare the functions of state of the art equipment to that which is actually on site, thereby building confidence and encouraging use of equipment which otherwise might not be utilised.
  • It creates a level field between trainees and experienced practitioners in the learning of new technologies and techniques
  • Using the equipment in situations where patients can present with multiple problems and are too ill to be able to co-operate or communicate, requires adaptation of technique, unlike in a simulated scenario with a healthy subject.
  • It has enhanced the reputation of the ICU and ED departments, and Alice Springs hospital as a training site, encouraging registrars and trainees to extend their rural rotations because of the level of practical training available.

The driving force behind the project is Dr Penny Stewart, Director of the Intensive Care Unit at Alice Springs Hospital. She sees the use of Ultrasound and Echocardiography as key to assisting in risk assessment and earlier diagnosis of conditions in patients for whom the possibility of getting timely or any treatment at all, is often made impossible by distance.

The success of this project, funded by the RHCE Stream One program, demonstrates a viable and practical training solution for regional and remote locations. In this instance making it possible to take ultrasound and echocardiography to clinics in even more remote locations, with the knowledge that staff have a better understanding of the equipment and are more confident and proficient in its use.

More information on this project can be found on our website  

ROME visits Alice Springs

Measuring health outcomes and how this can potentially improve patient care is an important aspect of healthcare delivery, particularly so for rural and remote areas.

On 29 October the RACP hosted a workshop in Alice Springs, titled Working Together: Rural Health Outcomes across the Continuum of Care, as part of the Rural Outcome Measurement Enhancement (ROME) project funded by the RHCE Stream One Program.

Held in conjunction with the Rural Medicine Australia Conference, the workshop brought together some of Australia’s foremost experts in community, rehabilitation and general health services.

Attendees discussed the need for flexible training programs in rural areas where a critical mass of specialists is not always available to assist in supervision. Dr Sue Morey highlighted the need for a model for training doctors in the system in which they work.

Associate Professor Graeme Maguire highlighted the benefit of tailoring protocol to the environment in which doctors are working.  Excess mortality is borne by Aboriginal Australians in many diseases, and it is important to determine whether the process markers or guidelines are appropriate in these communities and ask whether these processes are getting us the outcomes we want.

‘Rural specialists often work in isolation and have difficulty in accessing other specialists for consultation and collaboration in healthcare,’ RACP physician and one of the workshop co-chairs Dr Howard Flavell said.

‘Rural clinicians often lack the infrastructure to assist with health outcome measurement and the use of this information to improve health outcomes.’

Overall, the workshop provided an opportunity to engage directly with rural specialists and other healthcare workers to identify areas of focus that could assist in integrating care to improve patient outcomes in the rural setting.

The RACP is delighted that RHCE funding for this project has been extended into 2012.  The Working Party is currently planning to host another workshop in conjunction with the ACRRM Conference in Fremantle, WA in October 2012.

Dr Jeremy Christley
Rehabilitation Physician
Chair, ROME Working Party

Taken from the RACP News Article December 2011

Further information is available on our website

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We would welcome your contribution, articles, and photos.

Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing Committee of Presidents of Medical Colleges