2023 | Volume 24 | Issue 2

Strengthening the future of the College

RACS Council held an extraordinary meeting in late March to review our work as a College to make sure we focus on core activities, rationalise the number of committees and working groups, and discuss other cost saving initiatives.

Below is an excerpt from a communication sent to members by President Dr Sally Langley.

At the meeting various decisions were made—ranging from stopping some existing College activities, enhancing and improving existing processes where possible, and exploring new revenue generating opportunities where appropriate.

These decisions were made in the context of the challenging economic conditions, including volatile global investment markets and inflationary pressures on expenditure that we’ve experienced in the last two years. This is in addition to the impact of COVID-19 and the restrictions that negatively impacted operations.


We agreed to consolidate, disband or realign committees, sections and working groups to ensure we are focusing on the ones that are critical to our strategic goals. We will be communicating this to the relevant members through the committee chairs, so they are aware of the changes, which are aimed at minimising any major impacts to our member services. Changes have been made to some of our Sections and some specific committees that were either no longer required or merged with other committees to improve efficiency.


We reviewed our existing professional development courses, which are extensive and to identify which courses added the least and most value to our members.

Based on these discussions we will discontinue the following professional development courses with effect from 31 May 2023:
- Process Communication Model
- Non-Technical Skills for Surgeons
- Promoting Advanced Surgical Education
- Clinical Decision Making
- Safer Surgical Teamwork
- Surgeons as Leaders
- Bioethics
- Medico-legal
- Conflict and You
- Leading Out of Drama
- Foundation Skills for Surgical Educators face-to-face
- Difficult Conversations face-to-face.

We will also stop some education activities and collaborations that are not critical to the fulfillment of our strategic goals. These include a review of the Tri-nations collaboration, partnership with the University of Melbourne on the Surgical Education Program, research collaborations and examination, and skills course grants.

Travel and accommodation

We will make significant travel and accommodation cost savings by making bulk hotel bookings wherever possible and primarily utilising economy for flights across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. More savings and efficiencies will be created with the introduction of an online booking system.

Internal and external services

We will provide the use of continuing professional development (CPD) home to pre-vocational doctors as part of the newly introduced CPD Homes initiative.

We will defer some technology projects that are deemed not to be time sensitive or critical this year. However, we will progress with planning technology initiatives in the finance area to replace the finance reporting and tracking systems that are obsolete and urgently require updating.

We will also stop printing publications such as Surgical News, the annual report and pocket diaries. Surgical News will be available digitally via a microsite from April 2023, generating an annual saving of more than $300,000 in print and mailout costs. This change will take effect from May 2023.

While we remain committed to building respect within our profession, we are balancing a number of priorities and we acknowledge we can’t achieve everything immediately. With this in mind, we will pause the development of a proposed new leadership framework as part of our Building Respect, Improving Patient Safety program.