RANZCOG is dedicated to the establishment of high standards of practice in obstetrics and gynaecology, and that includes addressing the needs and individual interests of trainees and supporting our Fellows throughout their careers.
However, we realise that O&G as a profession has had to navigate the failure of systems, lack of research, monitoring and evaluation of new devices and procedures. Use of mesh has had significant consequences for many women. We acknowledge the pain and distress suffered by many Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand women (wāhine) who have experienced complications arising from pelvic mesh implants. We remain committed to working collaboratively with the health system and the wāhine and whanau across our moto to contribute to a pathway of care that helps to relieve the burden of urinary incontinence in our community in a safe and effective manner. We are committed to ensuring women are given evidence-based guidance and are offered an appropriate range of treatment options, in line with their own goals and values.
This edition explores urogynaecology-related work, revealing significant developments and new directions in this subspeciality.
Congratulations, Dr Gillian Gibson
Congratulations to Dr Gillian Gibson as our President-Elect. Dr Gibson will take up her role in November 2023, after RANZCOG’s Annual General Meeting. Her term will run to November 2025. Dr Gibson will become the second female President of RANZCOG*. She will also become the second New Zealander to hold the office. We can be proud of the College’s gender equity and diversity journey. RANZCOG exceeded gender targets for female representation on its current Board and Council – 18 of 24 Councillors and five of nine Board Directors are women. There has also been a considerable increase in the female representation and Chairs on various committees and working groups of the College compared with previous years.
I congratulate Gill and am confident her passion and dedication will help deliver the best guidance and support to our Members and trainees across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.
The Australian Medical Council (AMC) and Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) are well underway into assessing the College’s education and training, and professional development programs and activities. Read our Reaccreditation and CPD Homes submissions. I would like to acknowledge the significant contribution to these important pieces of work by College staff, the AMC/MCNZ Accreditation Steering Committee, the Board, and many other Members and trainees. Without their input it would not have been possible to achieve this milestone.
Our submissions are just the start of the College’s assessment. Next month (July) the AMC will visit the College during Council Week to meet with relevant committees and other key stakeholders involved in College governance.
Elective Surgery Backlog
The COVID-19 pandemic increased pressure on pre-existing, underfunded and under resourced public health systems. Patients are suffering with women being impacted severely. We have called on governments in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand for urgent funding reform to address the growing number of people waiting for elective surgery. As a result of reduced surgical services for women, O&G trainees struggle to get the surgical experience they need to become confident specialists, with the broad skillsets consumers need and expect. Governments need to investigate and put in place well-funded and formulated arrangements with hospitals, both public and private sector, to ensure O&G trainees, the future workforce, is confident and capable to look after the communities’ needs.
Rural Women’s Health
The College has been outspoken in advocating for the equitable delivery of women’s health services across Australia, mindful of the unique challenges rural and remote women face when accessing services. While these have taken years to emerge the need for multidisciplinary solutions is critical
It was great to welcome more than 50 delegates representing College Members and trainees, midwifery groups, consumers, and key stakeholders from Commonwealth, state and territory governments, non-government organisations and other service providers who support rural, regional and remote women’s health collaboratively, to the College in May for our first Australian rural women’s health roundtable. The day examined access to care in regional and rural Australia, barriers to recruitment, lack of support for the health professionals as well as collaboration, training and upskilling opportunities. These discussions will help inform the direction of RANZCOG’s Rural Women’s Health Strategy.
* Dr Heather Munro AO was the first and only woman President of the Royal Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RACOG) (1994– 1996). The late Associate Professor Christine Tippett AM was the first woman President of RANZCOG (2006–2008).