2024 | Volume 25 | Issue 3

Presidents perspective

Dear colleagues

I am fortunate to frequently experience moments of real pride in my profession and camaraderie with my peers. The RACS 92nd Annual Scientific Congress (ASC) in Ōtautahi Christchurch was certainly such an occasion. With around 1500 in-person delegates and a busy program of presentations, discussions, lectures, breakfast meetings and dinners from 6 to 10 May, the ASC 2024 was a celebration of all things surgical and the work of RACS, its members and the wider healthcare community. Thank you to all who joined us for the week and helped create, what the feedback is telling us, a successful and enjoyable event. Planning is now underway for the ASC 2025, in Sydney. Running over a weekend (3 to 6 May), we’re expecting an even bigger turnout as we take on the theme of Innovation, precision, excellence.
During the ASC in Ōtautahi, I hosted the President’s round table, where a panel of international college presidents from South Africa, Glasgow, Malaysia and Edinburgh kicked off the discussions around challenges facing our colleges. Looking at sustainability, workforce and health system issues, the session went beyond talk to look at developing solutions.  
The RACS Annual General Meeting was also held during the ASC, and we were pleased to see the meeting well attended (71 Fellows including 9 online) and full of constructive discussion. From the feedback it is clear there is a strong desire among our membership to see the College continue the current path towards a strong, sustainable future.
Another highlight for me was the weekend before the ASC when a group of 20 younger Fellows and College leaders came together to discuss the future of the surgical profession. This was a great opportunity to increase engagement with the newest generation of surgeons and it was exciting to hear the innovative yet practical ideas being explored.  
Not long after returning from Aotearoa New Zealand, the CEO, Stephanie Clota and I travelled to Sydney for the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges (CPMC) meetings on 20 and 21 May. There I was reminded of the power of a collective that has shared challenges, the will to find solutions and values that put patients, and the professionals that serve them, at the centre. Key to the advocacy of the CPMC is around the training of the rural healthcare workforce, something that is dear to my heart and that RACS is committed to helping advance. Expect to hear more in this space soon.
I am honoured to have received a nomination to become an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England by the president, Dr Tim Mitchell. The ceremony will be held in London on 9 July 2024 and will be an important opportunity for collaboration and connection between our two colleges.
To end on a further positive note, I am pleased to say the report to the accreditation authorities Australian Medical Council/Medical Council of New Zealand has been finalised following fantastic engagement between RACS and the 13 specialty societies across our two countries. This has been a huge piece of work that has shown us how we can collaborate as a cooperative network of surgical trainers for the benefit of our profession and the communities we serve. We are in an excellent place from which to move forward.

Associate Professor Kerin Fielding