Gabrielle duPreez-Wilkinson, CMOA President, May 2001

Welcome to 2001 in the Career Medical Officer Association!

At the AGM, I was honoured to be elected as President. I would like to thank Mary Weber very much for her leadership as President over the last two years. She has been a source of never ending personal inspiration, as well as dedicated in completion of her duties as President. I hope I may be able to fill her shoes adequately.

This year will be an exciting and challenging one for Career Medical Officers, I believe. The introduction in NSW of compulsory proof of CME for medical registration, combined with award negotiations in NSW, will keep our NSW contingent very busy. The high potential of NSW Medical Board requirements spreading around the country necessitates our ongoing communication and attention to CMOs in all states. It is imperative, if we wish to maintain our status as independent medical practitioners of senior standing, that we support each other and ensure that we continue to set the standards for ourselves - before external agents try to "help" us. Once the award is sorted in NSW, we will then promote their advance in other states industrially through the relevant unions.

Following the AGM in Sydney, we had an excellent meeting in Tweed Heads. A meeting in Alice Springs in July, and other meetings potentially in other states later in the year will follow this.

The other significant issue for us to pursue is a career pathway for junior doctors who wish to emulate us and become CMOs. The issues surrounding this are contained in another article, but any input is very welcomed. Improving the profile of CMOs will be easier once a pathway is articulated more clearly. The journey after that will involve engaging our specialist colleagues and general practice colleagues to achieve an understanding that CMOs are an essential support group, rather than competition. Although this is well recognised on an individual basis, there needs to be organisational recognition also.

At the AGM, we recognised our colleagues from New Zealand, and voted to change our name to the Australasian Society of Career Medical Officers. Once the paperwork is dutifully completed, this will officially occur.

So, what am I going to do as President? My aim is to lead from the middle. What that means is that I will attempt to be forward enough to stand up and be counted and voice our concerns in relevant forums as occur, but still enough in the fold that I still know what is going on and am in touch with the concerns and beliefs of the CMOs. In order to do this, I will appreciate the support and advice of the Executive, as well as all our members. Please let me know what your concerns are, and how we can help to make life easier. I can't promise the world, but I can offer a listening ear and a desire to assist and promote the welfare of CMOs.

The Long Road to CMO Career Pathway.

Contact with external agencies has been thick and fast in the last few months. A representative from Australian Medical Workforce Advisory Committee (AMWAC) contacted me to discuss medical workforce planning and direction issues. They are intending to maintain contact with the Executive through me. The Medical Training Review Panel (MTRP) had a teleconference on 17th May to discuss the definition of training posts in postgraduate training. The formal definitions and outcomes of the meeting are yet to be circulated. In essence, the relevant section of the discussion for CMOs revolved around when one becomes a CMO, and who CMOs actually are. There appears to be ongoing confusion about this issue. There was a keenness to insist that people were only CMOs when they nominated to be under the CMO Award - which only exists in NSW and does not cover all CMOs. This was strongly refuted. The industrial definition of a CMO only comprises some of the doctors who are professionally considered as CMOs. There was also a perceived issue with people self defining their CMO status, by some member on the teleconference.

There was also a discussion by PGMEC type people as to whom the CMO should report their CME and professional development, as this had previously been an area of contention ignored. Our position of each CMO being personally responsible and reporting back through CPDP or equivalent was viewed favourably. This should be an interesting group for us to have involvement with.

The worst news of the last few months is that the Masters of Clinical Medicine set up proposal has not been funded. Although we are awaiting formal feedback as to the reasons, the bid by the University of Queensland and Newcastle University, which we strongly supported, has been rejected. We will now have to await feedback as to the reason for the failure and reconsider the approach to how we will achieve an accredited education program for trainees that is accessible across the distances of Australasia.

So, the long road to a CMO Career Pathway is continuing. We have a CME process, an understanding of our identity, and connections with decision making bodies. The next steps of an initial training program and continued articulation of CME standards are being made with some faltering. The future of where we go is up to us.

this information is intended for use by medical professionals only
all information is a guide only and not to be relied upon by any party