2023 | Volume 24 | Issue 6

World Organization of Family Doctors statement

In October Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) Council endorsed the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA)’s Call to Secure a Just & Equitable Transition to Sustainable Energy & Safeguard Health.

Forty family doctor and health professional organisations endorsed the letter, representing three million health professionals. You can read the open letter, with organisational endorsements here.

In November a press conference was held to publicly launch the call. The press conference was attended by more than 100 family doctors and was addressed by several health leaders including Associate Professor Karen Flegg (president-elect of WONCA), Dr Nicole Higgins (president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners), and Dr Maria Neira (director of the World Health Organization Department of Public Health, Environment and Social Determinants).

New South Wales Special Commission of Inquiry into Healthcare Funding

On November 1, RACS president, Associate Professor Kerin Fielding, New South Wales Committee chair, Dr Michelle Atkinson, Health Policy and Advocacy Committee chair, Professor Mark Frydenberg, Executive General Manager Fellowship Engagement, Etienne Scheepers, and Policy and Advocacy Manager, Chesney O’Donnell met with Richard Beasley Senior Counsel (the appointed Commissioner of the Inquiry).

There were a number of areas of concern raised regarding the Terms of Reference including:
•    Section A: Concerns regarding funding for delivery of equitable and accessible services, which may raise the question of low value care and its impact on elective surgery waiting lists.
•    Section C: May touch on how the Commonwealth is paying for private services delivered in a public hospital by specialists employed by the state.
•    Section F: Workforce sustainability, retention, use of locums and Visiting Medical Officers to meet current and future demands.
•    Section G: Education and training programs for specialists are being examined regarding their sustainability to meet future needs, and if there are any barriers to workforce expansion,   Specialist International Medical Graduates, College engagement with local health networks, and placement.