2024 | Volume 25 | Issue 1



Author: Associate Professor Andrew MacCormick

Chair, Aotearoa New Zealand National Committee

Last year was a busy one for the Aotearoa New Zealand National Committee (AoNZNC). September 2023 saw a very successful Annual Surgeons’ Meeting (ASM). The program was themed around surgical care in health system change—was challenging and thought provoking.
We have a new government and have already engaged with the new ministers. We will continue to pursue dialogue about things that matter to RACS including surgical service provision, workforce development, education and training, equity of access, and planned care.

In the meantime, advocacy continued throughout 2023. We have had ongoing meetings with Te Whatu Ora (Health New Zealand – the centralised public health agency). We also met with the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), Medical Council of New Zealand and Manatū Hauora – Ministry of Health.

The AoNZNC has also been active in representing RACS and our urological colleagues in the decision to move to a temporary pause on pelvic floor mesh. Work continues to ensure patient safety with representation for accreditation, education, multidisciplinary meetings, and a pelvic floor surgery registry.

I recently visited several hospitals in the upper North Island and there are several ongoing issues with workforce, education and training. Planned care (also known as elective surgery) is an ongoing struggle. These issues are also reflected in the discussion with the Aotearoa New Zealand (AoNZ) society representatives on the National Committee. The issue of planned care volumes is inextricably linked with workforce and training of the next generation of surgeons.

Our strategic goals for 2024 include ongoing advocacy and amplifying the voice of AoNZ within the wider RACS organisation. On the latter point we hope to use the refresh of the RACS board and council structure to reinforce the binational nature of RACS. We aim to have a stronger voice for both the AoNZNC and Aotearoa New Zealand societies.

Ngā mihi nui.