USANZ President's Report on RACS Roadshow Meeting
RACS Roadshow: Meeting with USANZ
RACS met with USANZ late last week, as part of their "Roadshow" in which they meet with Specialty Surgical groups annually to discuss issues of mutual importance. This meeting was conjointly led by USANZ and RACS senior staff and office bearers, including the Presidents and CEOs.
RACS expenditure is to be reined in. The challenges to meet budget have largely related to the cost of travel for face-to-face meetings. With a large number of committees, it is not surprising that costs have blown out. Some of the changes being rolled out include converting most activity to an online forum or, in some cases, email if that will suffice. Some meetings by the Training Boards can take as long as 2 days to complete the required business and, in these instances, it is more than impractical to conduct business online.
RACS will work with USANZ to identify which conjoint business can be completed online and which must still require in person meetings. As core business, the realm of training will be least subject to the proposed cuts.
AHPRA and Protection of the Title "Surgeon"
Mark Frydenberg has been leading Advocacy at RACS. The risks of non-surgeons being able to use the title "surgeon" is no better displayed than in the press in relation to so called 'Cosmetic surgery'. Due to detailed and persistent advocacy work, it appears this protection of title will likely become enshrined in law. This is at a time when AHPRA is lowering the threshold of recognition of medical or other craft group claims to secure role definition. Blurring of clinical roles appears to be a byproduct of AHPRA activity.
Pharmacy Guild and Prescribing by Pharmacists
As I am sure Members are aware, pharmacists are seeking to roll out the antibiotic pilot for UTI treatment that was started in Queensland. RACS has co-signed a letter we wrote to the Federal Health Minister, Mark Butler, regarding this issue. We are also seeking input from the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges (CPMC) in support of medical primary care, i.e. the General practice sector, given the number of affronts to this. There is a commitment by RACS to support our work on this.
Recognition of USANZ Office Bearers
RACS has been slow to recognise the efforts of our senior leaders, such as the previous Chair of the Board of Urology, Rob Forsyth, for his assiduous work in leading the Training Board. This will be addressed.
Business arising from last year's "Roadshow" was to ensure that USANZ key committees include representation for New Zealand-based members, so that meetings such as the RACS Roadshow can address New Zealand specific USANZ interests.
We were able to report that work is progressing steadily to increase NZ representation on the USANZ Board and to increase autonomy for the NZ National entity. As discussed at the recent NZ AGM, the latter does not need to await constitutional change.
The NZ ‘sectional’ (National) Chair has recently changed from Leanne Shaw to Michael Vincent. On behalf of the Society, I would like to thank Leanne for her excellent work and contributions as the New Zealand Section Representative on the USANZ Board over the last 2 years.
RACS Board Restructure
Council members of RACS carry the responsibility of Company Directors under ASIC, as does the USANZ Board. Where our Board involves 10 or so members (as most Boards are comprised), there are 31 members on the RACS Council. It is recognised that this number, while representative, impedes decision making and a more nimble Board is sought. Council will appoint the Board which will include at least 4 surgeons. These changes are expected in the next 12 months or so.
Feedback this year on the Specialist IMG department indicates it is now processing applications with far greater efficiency and the staffing problems coming out of COVID are settling down with greater retention of staff.
RACS is investing heavily in updating its IT systems. USANZ members may not be aware there is a CPD app with enhanced functionality for tracking and collating CPD events and audit. Read more about the CPD app.
Mark Frydenberg recently liaised with the RACS team to permit access to the new ICS Continence Journals. Thanks for your advocacy work in many areas.