It seems hard to believe that we are coming to the end of 2016; a year that has seen a number of changes and hopefully a successful year for those reading this issue of O&G Magazine.
By now, most of you will have had the opportunity to look over the new RANZCOG website. This site has been designed to be user-friendly and easy to navigate; it has also been designed with specific audiences in mind. In keeping with the College’s objective of raising awareness of the speciality, the website includes a section that outlines the role of an O&G specialist and the training required to achieve Fellowship.
There are also a number of other resources available for patients, including some excellent videos that provide information for patients preparing for surgery.
The website provides updates on current news and issues, both local and international, and I would encourage those of you who have not yet browsed through the site to visit www.ranzcog.edu.au. The website is mobile friendly, so can be used on phones and tablets.
Annual Scientific Meeting
In October, I had the privilege of attending the College’s Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) in Perth. The meeting was an outstanding success and included delegates from Australia, New Zealand, the UK, USA and the Pacific region. The Organising Committee are to be commended for their hard work, energy and commitment and they were ably supported by RANZCOG staff. It was also an honour to sit in the audience and observe the joy of those receiving their Fellowship and that of their family and friends. Congratulations to all those graduating from the FRANZCOG Training Program in 2016 – we look forward to your involvement in the College.
Patient Information Pamphlets
At the ASM, RANZCOG launched the new suite of patient information pamphlets. These pamphlets are available for order on the College website and will be regularly updated to ensure the information provided is current. From February 2017, RANZCOG will no longer be affiliated with the Mi-Tec patient information brochures. Although these brochures will still be available from
Mi-Tec, they will not be endorsed by RANZCOG and will no longer carry the RANZCOG crest. The RANZCOG patient information pamphlets have been developed through a rigorous and stringent process, but are written in a way that is suitable for the intended audience (women and their families). It is hoped that these pamphlets will shortly be available in a number of languages. A sample pamphlet, Labour and Birth, has been included with this issue of O&G Magazine.
Supporting Respectful Workplaces
Last year at this time, I referred to the events leading up to and concerning the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons’ (RACS) survey into incidences of bullying and harassment. This year, RANZCOG embarked upon its own survey and the results of this were included in my report in the previous issue of O&G Magazine. Since that time, RANZCOG has established a Working Group that has as its remit ‘Supporting Respectful Workplaces’. This Working Group will establish a plan for addressing the cultural issues that exist in some areas of the specialty and for raising awareness of the need for respectful and professional relationships.
When the 2016 Australian of the Year, former Lieutenant-General David Morrison, famously stated ‘the standard you walk past is the standard you accept’, the significance was not lost on many who had experienced poor treatment from others, but received no support. It is difficult to ‘call out’ inappropriate or unacceptable behaviour from colleagues or peers, and yet that is what needs to happen if mutually respectful workplaces are to thrive. It is also important to establish a shared understanding of teaching and training; when does feedback become humiliation and what roles do resilience and generational difference play in this paradigm? The College will be developing resources to address these issues and these will be available online in the coming months along with additions to existing workshops and changes to the annual training survey. Cultural change is not an overnight process, but with increased awareness and shared responsibility, improvements will gradually occur.
Although Henry David Thoreau claimed ‘what is once well done is done forever’, in a world that is experiencing change at the most rapid rate in history, this probably needs to be amended to read ‘what is once well done will need to be revalidated’. The spectre of revalidation has raised the ire of doctors across the country (one only needs to read the submissions on the Medical Board of Australia’s website to attest to this); however, it seems inevitable that specialists will be required to participate in some form of revalidation in the very near future. RANZCOG is mindful of this looming obligation and is planning to ensure Fellows are provided with a program that is efficient, effective and easy to use. In 2017, the College will invest in upgrading the CPD Online platform and this will also take into consideration the requirements of the Medical Board for practitioners to demonstrate ongoing competence.
The College continues to explore strategies for engaging more effectively with its members and making the organisation more accessible for those wishing to have greater involvement. As with many Colleges, the majority of the work is undertaken by a core group of hard-working individuals who often make significant personal and professional sacrifices for the sake of their roles. We continue to be indebted to those who so do so much for RANZCOG, the profession and for women’s health in general. My personal thanks go to the Board and staff for their support during the past year.
I hope you enjoy a safe and restful holiday period with your families, friends and loved ones. I look forward to working with you in 2017.