Vol. 26 No 2 | Winter 2024
Updates From our Research and Policy Team
Prof Cindy Farquhar

Who doesn’t love a great clinical guideline?

You may not know that RANZCOG has a Research and Policy Team, who are responsible for the development and upkeep of our evidence-based clinical guidance documents.

There are approximately 80 existing clinical statements – 50 are for obstetric topics and 30 are gynaecological and sexual and reproductive topics. We know from survey data that the fellows appreciate the statements, but we also know that there are many overlaps. The team has undertaken the challenge to rationalise and update clinical guidance documents by consolidating existing statements by topic.

The process of developing and updating RANZCOG clinical guidance documents changed in 2022. It involves an initial expression of interest for fellows, GP obstetricians/associates, trainees, community representatives (such as midwives and consumers), and other stakeholders affiliated to the College to participate in working groups. These Statement and Guideline Development Groups, alongside the Team, prepare clinical questions, review evidence searches and undertake quality appraisals to develop evidence-based recommendations and practical advice for clinicians. The documents are reviewed by the Women’s Health Committee and a range of internal and external stakeholders through consultation. Final approval is provided by the Committee and College Council.

In 2023-24 we published the following updated statements:

  • C-Gyn 1 Female genital mutilation/cutting
  • C-Obs 2 Home births
  • C-Obs 20 Placenta accreta spectrum
  • C-Gyn 25 Management of the adnexa at the time of hysterectomy
  • C-Obs 31 Care in labour in the absence of pregnancy complications
  • C-Obs 39 Caesarean birth on maternal request
  • C-Obs 44 Pre-pregnancy and pregnancy related vaccinations
  • C-Obs 61 Early pregnancy screening and prevention of pre-term preeclampsia and related complications

There have also been interim updates of the following statements:

  • C-Obs 12  The use of Misoprostol in obstetrics and gynaecology
  • C-Obs 23  Timing of elective caesarean section
  • C-Obs 32  Responsibility for neonatal resuscitation at birth
  • C-Obs 46  Subclinical hypothyroidism and hypothyroidism in pregnancy

And two updates of Workforce statements:

  • WPI-14  Position Statement on the Provision of Obstetric Anaesthesia and Analgesia Services
  • WPI-18  Fatigue and the Obstetrician Gynaecologist (full update led by a working party)

In October 2023, we also published the first RANZCOG guideline on Abortion Care. The document was launched at the ASM and has had over 4,000 visits in the first six months since publication. We also prepared a decision aid to help with deciding between surgical and medical abortion.

We are currently updating the existing Australian clinical practice guideline for the diagnosis and management of endometriosis. This is intended to be a ‘living evidence guideline’ by mid-2025.

Thank you to all members of the Statement and Guideline Development Groups and RANZCOG members who have provided feedback during consultation periods. All members who take part in working groups receive CPD hours (Outcome Measurement Domain).

Updating statements and guidelines is an ongoing activity, so look out for the next call for expressions of interest to be involved in working groups supporting this process.

We have also published a Handbook for Statement and Guideline Development and two short training videos. Please contact the team at [email protected] if you would like to see any of these resources.

You can access our clinical guidance documents in RANZCOG’s Statements and Guidelines Directory.

Meet the Research & Policy team

  • Professor Cindy Farquhar – Dean of Research & Policy
  • Katie Coulthard – Research & Policy Lead
  • Kate Smith – Project Officer, Endometriosis
  • Angela Hunter – Research and Policy Senior Coordinator
  • Anita Kosterlitz – Administration Officer

From L to R: Kate Smith, Katie Coulthard, Professor Cindy Farquhar. Photo: RANZCOG

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