2023 | Volume 24 | Issue 3



RACS has a strong history of advocacy across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. We are committed to effecting positive change in healthcare and the broader community by adopting informed and principled positions on issues of public health. 

We regularly advocate for these positions across several different mediums—including through the media, public campaigns, or by negotiating directly, or providing written submissions to both government and non-government agencies.

In the last two months some of the advocacy work the College has undertaken includes the following:

Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Amendment Bill 2023
RACS recently responded to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Surgeons) Amendment Bill 2023 to protect the title ‘surgeon’ within the medical profession so as to ‘safeguard the public and strengthen the regulation of cosmetic surgery in Australia’.

RACS has long supported reform to the regulation of the title ‘surgeon’, and we were pleased that the position on which practitioners should be able access the title—which was formalised in 2021—is generally reflected in the substance of the legislation.

However, RACS does hold some concerns about one aspect of the legislation, specifically a provision that enables the Ministerial Council (federal, state and territory health ministers) to prescribe another ‘class’ of medical practitioners as being a ‘surgical class’, thus granting the class access to the title ‘surgeon’.
A separate, but related reform agreed to by health ministers when they agreed to this legislation is the establishment of an ‘endorsement for cosmetic surgery’. In submissions to various bodies in relation to the establishment of this ‘endorsement’, RACS has expressed its concern that cosmetic surgical training programs may be accredited at lower standards than those required of specialty surgical training programs.
Full submission

Framework for Australian clinical quality registries
RACS has provided a response to the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care's consultation regarding a framework for Australian clinical quality registries. Our submission was supported by:

Australian and New Zealand Association of Paediatric Surgery (ANZAPS)
Australian and New Zealand Thyroid Cancer Registry (ANZTCR)
Australian and New Zealand Audit of Surgical Mortality (ANZASM)
Australian and New Zealand Emergency Laparotomy Audit – Quality Improvement (ANZELA QI)
Australian and New Zealand Society for Vascular Surgery (ANZSVS)
Australian and New Zealand Society of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgeons (ANZSCTS)
Australian Society of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (ASOHNS)
Australian Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS)
Australian Trauma Quality Improvement Program (AusTQIP)
Australasian Shunt Registry (ASR)
Breast Surgeons of Australia and New Zealand (BreastSurgANZ)
General Surgeons Australia (GSA)
Neurosurgical Society of Australasia (NSA)
Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand (USANZ)

Full submission

Lithium-ion batteries causing fires

RACS has written an open letter to the Australian federal health minister seeking urgent action by the government to prevent further deaths and injuries from the increasing number of fires caused by lithium-ion batteries overheating and exploding.

Climate health letter to Minister Butler

RACS has written to the Australian federal health minister applauding the government's commitment to develop Australia's first National Health and Climate Strategy and also the establishment of a National Health Sustainability and Climate Unit—expressing our interest in being involved in the consultation process.

Prostheses List Reforms 
RACS has responded to the latest round of consultation regarding Prostheses List Reforms, which is the fifth consultation paper on this important issue.

Full submission
Want to know more about RACS Advocacy?

RACS distributes an Advocacy in Brief newsletter, which includes detailed updates on recent RACS submissions from Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, active consultations, and engagement opportunities, as well as various other items of interest. 

If you would like to be added to the distribution list for future issues, please email the RACS Policy and Advocacy Team at [email protected]