When I wrote my last CEO Report for O&G Magazine, I had no idea what was coming. At the time, we were experiencing the worst bushfires that Australia had witnessed and unbeknownst to us all, another great threat was looming – COVID-19. A term that will be synonymous with the year 2020.
The world is feeling the effects of a global pandemic where hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost and many people have been infected. The race to curb the spread of the virus continues and in Australia and New Zealand, we have done our best to flatten the curve with hope to return to life as we knew it before we became isolated from each other.
Through the adversity that COVID-19 has brought, I am proud of how RANZCOG has responded to the situation. We were proactive in implementing a full working-from-home arrangement for staff across Australia and New Zealand, quick to adopt videoconferencing facilities to run meetings and social media tools to stay connected to each other and notably, for the first time, we ran College Council Week entirely via videoconference. All credit must go to the quick decision-making of the RANZCOG Board and President Dr Vijay Roach as well as the swift and seamless implementation of technology and new ways of working by College staff across Australian and New Zealand.
I suppose it is somewhat fortuitous that this issue of O&G Magazine is about self-care. Never has self-care been so important, and the College is committed to ensuring that our members, trainees and staff are taking care of their health and wellbeing during this challenging time.
By now, you will be aware of, or affected by, the cancellation or postponement of many major College events, workshops, exams and activities. This was a necessary action on our part in stopping the potential spread of COVID-19. Our members and trainees are crucial to the health of our nation and it is therefore also our responsibility to do our part to ensure our healthcare services are not overwhelmed.
Our natural instincts are to help others before we do anything for ourselves; however, sometimes we need to remember that we must take care of ourselves first, to be able to help others. It is like on a flight when you must put your mask on before assisting someone else. Right now, you must look after your health first, the health of your loved ones and, through your duty as medical professionals, the health of our country.
Over the past few weeks, the President and I have had the pleasure of meeting (via Zoom) with members and trainees across Australian states and territories and New Zealand, to receive your feedback, hear your experiences and understand the challenges you face. It has been insightful and valuable, and I am grateful to those who have taken the time to attend these meetings and provide input.
The College is here to support you during this time and I would like to hear from you, so please contact me at [email protected]. You can also contact our Training Support Unit (TSU) at [email protected] and +61 8 6102 2096 or our Health and Wellbeing Coordinator at [email protected] and +61 3 9114 3939.
If you would prefer to speak with someone externally, Converge International (specialists in psychology, mental health and wellbeing) are available on 1300 687 327 (Australia), 0800 666 367 (New Zealand) or, from other countries on +613 8620 5300.
RANZCOG’s Information Hub has continued to be a valuable source of information for our members, trainees, stakeholders and the public over the last few months. I would also like to encourage you to send your personal stories and experiences to the College for feature in Connect. This is a great way to engage and stay connected with the wider RANZCOG community.
I would like to finish by thanking you all for continuing to contribute to making RANZCOG the leading voice in Women’s Health across Australia and New Zealand. Our members, trainees and College staff are all committed and united each day (even during a global pandemic), in the pursuit of the best outcomes and the best healthcare for women and their babies.
Stay safe and take care.