2024 | Volume 25 | Issue 2

RACS supports AOFAS concerns on podiatric surgeon regulation

RACS via Health Policy and Advocacy Committee (HPAC) supported the Australian Orthopaedic Association and wrote a letter endorsing the Australian Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society’s (AOFAS) submission to the ongoing review of podiatric surgery regulation. HPAC shares AOFAS’ concern about the current system, which grants podiatrists the title ’surgeon‘ without mandated Australian Medical Council (AMC) accreditation, raising serious patient safety and consumer protection questions.

Public consultation on draft guidelines for non-surgical cosmetic procedures

RACS submitted a letter supporting the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons’ (ASPS) submission concerning improving regulation of non-surgical cosmetic procedures, focusing on facilities, medicines, non-registered practitioners, and advertising. RACS agreed with the ASPS that current regulations are insufficient and propose stricter guidelines, especially for non-medical practitioners. Key concerns include:

  1. vague language
  2. inadequate mental health assessment
  3. unclear regulations for businesses
  4. non-compliance with existing regulations.

Safe Care Victoria Colonoscopy White Paper

RACS was invited to provide feedback on the revised Safe Care Victoria (SCV) Colonoscopy White Paper. Feedback included:

  • Patients testing positive on National Bowel Cancer Screening Program positive faecal occult blood tests should have their colonoscopy within 90 days (category 2) from the date of referral to the endoscopy or outpatient clinic.
  • Patients should be appropriately consented, which includes an understanding of potential complications, factors relating to duration and technical performance of their procedure, and the recommended timing of appropriate colonoscopy surveillance intervals in relation to any previous colonoscopy.
  • After colonoscopy both general and specific information regarding the findings and pathology should be sequentially communicated to the patient and referring practitioner.

Updates from Aotearoa New Zealand

Response to trauma committee’s appeal to maintain speed limit reductions

Late last year Dr Chris Wakeman, chair of the Aotearoa New Zealand (AoNZ) Trauma Committee, urgently appealed to the government to abandon plans to reverse speed limit reductions on some of the country’s roads. The AoNZ Trauma Committee is currently awaiting a response to its letter to the health minister highlighting the regional inequities in trauma services around the country.

Repeal of the Therapeutic Products Act 2023

The AoNZ National Committee is preparing a response to the announcement that the government will repeal legislation to modernise the regulatory landscape for therapeutic products and the natural health industry. The proposed repeal means the legislation intended to be replaced by the Act – the Medicines Act 1981, the Dietary Supplements Regulations 1985 and the Sunscreen (Product Safety Standard) Act 2022 – will remain in force.

Surgeon takes up reins at the Medical Council of New Zealand

A member of the AoNZ National Committee, Dr Rachelle Love has been appointed chair of the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ). Dr Love, who is of Ngāpuhi and Te Arawa descent, is an otolaryngology head and neck surgeon from Ōtautahi Christchurch.

Equity work will continue despite axing of Te Aka Whai Ora

Speaking as chair of RACS AoNZ National Committee, Associate Professor Andrew MacCormick said that efforts to close the gap on health inequities in AoNZ will continue despite axing of Te Aka Whai Ora – Māori Health Authority.

RACS Māori Trainee Liaison Lead Professor Jonathan Koea said the disestablishment of Te Aka Whai Ora is a "huge blow for Māori health progress". However, he emphasised that RACS in AoNZ has ramped up its focus on health equity for all New Zealanders.

A key feature of Professor Koea's work at the College is encouraging more Māori into surgical careers. The aim is to have 150 fully trained and practising Māori surgeons by 2040—the bicentenary of Te Tiriti o Waitangi – Treaty of Waitangi.