2024 | Volume 25 | Issue 1

Presidents perspective

Dear colleagues

We started the year with the arrival of our new Chief Executive Officer, Stephanie Clota, in late January. Stephanie brings a wealth of experience and respect as a seasoned leader in the healthcare and training sectors, showcasing an impressive track record of success. Her proficiency in strategic decision-making, financial performance, policy and advocacy, and corporate governance will be pivotal for the College’s future.

Stephanie has appointed Debbie Paltridge as the Executive General Manager, Education. Debbie, an integral part of RACS since 2008, is a respected surgical and medical educator. Her journey with us has been marked by notable achievements, including being awarded the Honorary Fellowship of RACS in 2022. I extend my gratitude to Tamsin Garrod, our interim Chief Executive Officer, for her leadership. Tamsin has decided to leave the College, and I thank her for her valuable contributions.

I’d like to thank those of you who have already renewed their annual subscriptions. Your continued support is invaluable, aiding us in maintaining financial sustainability and ensuring the delivery of essential services to our members and the wider surgical community. For those yet to renew, I encourage you to do so promptly.

Your subscription is an investment not only in your professional development but also in the future of surgical excellence in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. It also allows us to uphold the prestigious RACS brand and FRACS post-nominal, recognised nationally and internationally as symbols of quality, high standards, and excellence.

I extend my sincere congratulations to our Fellows who were recognised in the Australia Day 2024 honours list. This well-deserved honor is a testament to your outstanding contributions and dedication to our community and nation. Special acknowledgment goes to Professor Fiona Wood; Professor Kelvin Kong; Associate Professor Julie Mundy; Associate Professor Felix Behan; Dr Jane Fox; Emeritus Professor Adrian Polglase; Associate Professor Allen-John Collins; Dr Glendon Farrow; the late Dr Sachin Kumar Lal; Dr Robert North; Dr David Stabler, and Professor Robert Fitridge.

I would also like to acknowledge one of our dedicated Early Management of Severe Trauma (EMST) faculty and a valued member of the Academy of Surgical Educators, Associate Professor Rodney Petersen, a consultant obstetrician-gynecologist who was also honored on the Australia Day honours list, receiving a well-deserved Conspicuous Service Cross. He is one of the main members of our skills training faculty who contribute many hours of their valuable time to support courses such as ASSET, CCrISP, CLEAR, EMST and TIPS.

We take pride in celebrating your achievements and are grateful for the positive influence you bring to our society.

Congratulations also to our colleagues in Aotearoa New Zealand who recently celebrated Waitangi Day – the nation's national day on 6 February. The day commemorates the first signing of New Zealand’s founding document Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi) on 6 February 1840.

Following a review of the RACS surgical education and training program, the Australian Medical Council (AMC) has notified us of their concerns regarding the devolved model of surgical education and training. We are actively addressing this governance issue with specialty societies and anticipate a solution soon. We take pride in the high quality of surgical education in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, acknowledged by the AMC and the Medical Council of New Zealand. It will be business as usual as we continue to run our surgical education and training program.

Associate Professor Kerin Fielding