2023 | Volume 24 | Issue 5


Vice president perspective

I would like to acknowledge the significant work undertaken by our Australian states, territories and Aotearoa New Zealand teams over the past month in putting together some excellent events for our members. Our Aotearoa colleagues held the national Annual Surgeons Meeting in September in Wellington, and the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australian Tristate Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) was held in Darwin. Registration hit capacity and both events were a great success with positive feedback received from members. Well done to the teams involved in making the events such a success. I also attended the Tasmanian ASM in Launceston and that was a great day well attended by surgeons from a range of specialties with interesting topics as well as presentations from young researchers.  I'd like to thank all the Fellows and delegates of the meetings we've attended for their welcome warmth and generosity of spirit.

Each state, territory and Aotearoa New Zealand are facing similar workforce challenges and though the mechanisms and structures may vary, there is commonality in concerns over workforce distribution and indeed whether there are the resources and sufficient pipelines to meet the needs of the future.  It's crucial that we all work together to deliver safe surgery to the community.  Thankfully, we have a dedicated senior workforce and enthusiastic Younger Fellows.  Our status as the sole provider of surgical training is under the microscope as we endeavour to obtain Australian Medical Council accreditation, so a re-examination of our devolved training model is timely and necessary.  Our Trainees represent the future of our profession and nurturing that pipeline is our collective responsibility.

In my last communication I discussed the necessity to change our governance structure and the membership will have seen some interim changes that were necessary to guide the college through some difficult financial challenges.  So where are we are now on this governance journey?  A lot is being done to formulate governance model and make the necessary changes to the constitution needed to imbed the structure that will assure us of sustainability going forward.  These changes will be debated at Council in October and soon after we would like to present a model to the broader fellowship.  In essence, with the Recovery Committee in place, the advantages of a lean and skilled board are evident and the new governance structure will look very much like what we have already implemented, which is proving to be very effective.  It is also our opportunity to have a refreshed look at Council and how the fellowship might better relate.   The new Council model we are hoping would provide a seat at the table for our Aotearoa and state committee chairs and various surgical society leaders.  This should really cover all the bases in ensuring that our large membership organisation is appropriately represented.  

Regards and best wishes,

Professor Owen Ung
Vice President