Welcome to our final issue of O&G Magazine for 2022, and what better theme could we have to finish the year, than Community. This year has been all about community and reconnecting after the past few years of isolation, distance, and disconnection from one another. As an organisation, we have also come together as a community in many ways this year and we have had so much to celebrate and acknowledge.
Recently, College staff from across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand had the chance to participate in our first staff Professional Development Day at Djeembana. The theme of the day was ‘Connection to Place, People and Purpose’. It was lovely to hear from RANZCOG members about their experiences and work with the College, to reunite with one another, and to connect with our new location, Djeembana, on Boonwurrung land in Naarm.
In Aotearoa New Zealand, in August, our Annual Scientific meeting in Christchurch was the first opportunity in quite some time for the O&G community in New Zealand to come together. The two-day event was attended by around 150 people and the theme focused on ‘doing things differently’ and ‘tū ora mai’ (‘live in health’) – what a great message and theme that is considering the last few years we have had.
In September it was also a pleasure to see our Aotearoa New Zealand Women+ Health Summit, with the theme ‘Flourish’, connecting us with the wider community of people with an interest in women’s health. A community event run by the College, the summit brought together our partner organisations and people from a wide range of perspectives including medical, consumer and government, to have meaningful discussions that will contribute to the development of an Aotearoa New Zealand Women’s Health Strategy.
We had the opportunity to engage with our First Nations members and trainees at the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA) Conference in the Yugambeh region of the Gold Coast between 4–6 October. We heard from some inspirational speakers and met with prospective Indigenous doctors to our O&G workforce.
Our Annual Scientific Meeting was held the week after AIDA, on the Gold Coast between 7–12 October, and boasted a huge turnout, with over 1,000 delegates in person as well as 246 virtual delegates in attendance. At the Presentation Ceremony, 88 new Fellows, subspecialists and RANZCOG award recipients were joined by their families and friends to celebrate their achievements.
The College’s Consumer Network and Consumer Network Working Group are initiatives that were developed in 2019 for RANZCOG to engage with and gain valuable insight and feedback from consumers about the services provided by our members. The Working Group is made up of many consumer representatives from the community who meet throughout the year to discuss topics in women’s health that directly impact them, and how we can improve upon these services through the work of the College. Our consumer representatives also sit on many committees and working groups at RANZCOG to provide valuable insight that informs our work.
As part of this, a series of webinar topics for RANZCOG were hosted in 2022 and a consumer-based webinar series was run throughout the year. Issues for discussion have included vaccination and pregnancy, and since our last edition of O&G Magazine, perimenopause, contraception, sexual health, and fertility. These webinars connected our member and consumer communities together to discuss health topics in a consultative and informative way. We look forward to the 2023 series to further facilitate these discussions, and strengthen the relationships between consumers and practitioners.
We are currently preparing for another election year – how time has flown! In 2023, the incoming President will be announced in March, following a formal election process. We will also see the announcement of members to the 13th College Board in July, completion of tenure of the 12th College Council, and a new membership across our committees and working groups from November.
As I have previously reported, 2023 is an important year as RANZCOG is due to submit our Reaccreditation report with the Australian Medical Council (AMC) and Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ), assessing the extent to which the College meets accreditation standards for its FRANZCOG, subspecialty, CPD and SIMG programs. The AMC will assess the College’s written submission, observe the College’s exam format and integrity, and operational aspects. College stakeholders (trainees, supervisors and external stakeholders) will be invited to comment on the College’s training programs, and visit a number of training sites to gather feedback from key hospital stakeholders. The AMC will also visit the College during the July 2023 Council week, to meet with relevant committees and other key stakeholders involved in College governance. I look forward to providing more information on this in early 2023.
As 2022 draws to a close, we can all reflect on what has been a year of change and adjustment for us all, but one that has been positive and has allowed us to feel part of our communities once again.
I thank the College Board, President Dr Ben Bopp and our Council as exemplary leaders, as well as our committees, all our volunteers, and our dedicated College staff across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, for the work you continue to put in with dedication, commitment and respect for each other.
We have a wonderful community at RANZCOG and I am proud to be part of it.
I wish you a safe, happy and fun festive season.