While for many the mere mention of the words ‘strategic planning’ can cause eyes to glaze over, for others (such as managers and administrators), the term can provide comfort and order in a world that is often changeable and unpredictable. It provides a map for the coming period that enables those responsible for the smooth running of an organisation to be prepared and organised and to ensure that appropriate resources are allocated for those areas prioritised by the decision-makers (that is, Council and Board). Knowing what is coming and being aware of the environment is critical for effective planning and to make sure that we are ready for changes as they arise.
The RANZCOG Board have identified four priority areas for the next term and have started working on key initiatives in these areas. You will already have heard about the goal for improved engagement with members – and a second key area of focus is communication and advocacy. The President and other key College representatives have been busy meeting with state and federal ministers, their advisors and leaders of other agencies. These meetings aim to promote stronger connections with partner organisations and build relationships that will ultimately lead to better health outcomes for women. By continuing to raise the profile of RANZCOG, the College will build on its reputation as the key organisation representing and advocating for women’s health in Australia and New Zealand.
Other goals include ensuring RANZCOG is a sustainable and contemporary organisation that benefits members in their professional lives. While it is recognised that trainees benefit from the program by gaining a qualification that enables them to practise as a specialist or subspecialist in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology, the ongoing benefit for Fellows may be less tangible. RANZCOG is a highly respected organisation that has a reputation for educational leadership in postgraduate medical education; however, as competing demands continue to impact on Fellows’ professional lives, the College must endeavour to maintain relevance and provide benefit to ensure it is meeting the needs of all members.
The coming year will see some changes to the CPD requirements for Fellows, and the staff and committees will be working hard to make sure any changes are implemented as seamlessly as possible. The goal will be to minimise the administrative burden on Fellows, while ensuring compliance with the requirements of the Medical Boards of Australia and New Zealand. The College’s improved online processes will assist in streamlining services and hopefully keep frustration levels to a minimum!
The enquiry from the 44th and now 45th Parliament’s Senate Community Affairs References Committee into bullying and harassment has now been completed. The report listed a number of recommendations that covered complaints handling and sanctions processes. The report has also recommended further inquiry into the adequacy of the regulatory framework; particularly, the roles of the various bodies, such as AHPRA, National Boards and health complaints entities in each state and territory. All Colleges are now acutely aware of the need to promote positive training experiences and workplace environments.
In the coming year, RANZCOG will continue to work on the ‘Supporting Respectful Workplaces’ initiative, which will include the provision of online and face-to-face training opportunities aimed at raising awareness and supporting positive working relationships. The College is mindful of the need to support Fellows and trainees in this endeavour – including the need to communicate and receive feedback in an appropriate manner.
The fourth area of focus is education programs and at the end of 2016, RANZCOG received a positive report from the Australian Medical Council, the body responsible for the accreditation of medical colleges. The College is progressing well in all areas of accreditation, owing to the hard work of many who continue to work tirelessly to ensure the College programs and governance are of the highest standard.
I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the incoming Board of RANZCOG and the new President, Prof Steve Robson. We look forward to supporting the Board in achieving the goals they have set and in implementing the strategies they have outlined for the coming year.