Dear <<First Name>>
There is a well-known dictum about the exponential increase in doubling rates of human knowledge (down to 12 months expected to reach 12 hours) due to technological and computational advances.  This dictum may be applied to all we do – whether the rules of what is politically correct, notions of community advocacy/duty or the way we socialise. Fifteen years ago, the State Committee annual dinner was celebrated with the Governor of Queensland and in Black Tie. Our Annual State Committee Scientific meetings held standing room only AGMs. In the intervening fifteen years, the state AGMs were disbanded by the College Council and sub-specialisation makes it hard to get surgeons together to discuss the concerns that affect us all and for which only massed unity can result in the ability to influence government, regulatory authority or public opinion.

Yet now more than ever we need to stand together. I discussed the Health Transparency Bill in the last newsletter. Following our submission to a parliamentary committee, we were assured that an expert advisory committee made up of relevant representatives of College specialists. This would ensure that outcome measures would be risk adjusted before being published by the government on a “trip-advisor style” website (i.e. adjusted for co-morbidity and population demographics), and that individual surgeons in small hospitals could not thus be pilloried.  The State Committee has learnt that the same advisory group of hospital executives and Queensland Health staff members who led the development of the website and the legislation will form the advisory groups. No surgeons or other proceduralists sit on this committee. There is one doctor – a Head of Medical department. As all the outcome and waitlist data will be about surgery and obstetrics (apart from hospital indicators such as bacteraemia rates) this has the appearance of “scape-goating” proceduralists.

The State Committee, with members of the Queensland Health, Healthcare Improvement Unit, visited Cairns and Townsville in the last twelve months. During both visits, we were able to see the excellent work and services provided by the surgical departments in both regional cities.  The Townsville visit recently combined with the annual QASM seminar which had the theme “Distance – does it matter for surgery?”. The Townsville visit again highlighted the challenges faced by regional and rural surgeons in maintaining standards, training, recruitment and dealing with fatigue. Large regional areas such as those in North Queensland are unique in Australia for having large populations more than 2000 km from the capital city of that territory/state. This creates issues from as simplistic as the hubris of placing servers 2000km away in the capital for a statewide medical record rollout and not to expect issues with refreshing and other technical glitches; to supporting surgical leadership in small departments. Siloism in health services budgets often results in difficulty growing departments or attracting specialists to regions.

Below in this newsletter, I raise the issue of changing the membership on the Queensland State Committee to include more mandatory regional representation and I would be very interested in your feedback.

Lapses in professionalism can affect any size department or individual surgeons. Adverse publicity in newspapers about alleged gross misconduct should not happen if we moderate our colleagues’ behaviour early; treat each other, our juniors and our patients with respect; and never walk past behaviour that is below the line.  We met last month with senior public hospital management from throughout the State to reinforce the College’s commitment to building respect. We the majority, stand together to advocate for safe surgical standards and to uphold our professional reputations with integrity.

Not all is dire or on fire! And certainly, hopefully not the Christmas pudding! On behalf of the State Committee and the staff of the College I wish you all a restful and peaceful festive season.

Adjunct Professor Deborah Bailey

Chair Queensland State Committee
Queensland celebrates 90 years
The RACS Queensland State Committee (QSC) held its annual dinner on 6 November 2019 at the Queensland Cricketer's Club. This special dinner also marked the 90th anniversary since the formation of the QSC. The Committee has met continuously since its establishment aside from a short break during World War II.

An archived QSC Chairperson's newsletter dated back in December 2004 featured the 75th anniversary dinner and Annual General Meeting of the commencement of the QSC. It advised that the first recorded meeting of the QSC was held on 3 October 1929. So, from humble beginnings in October 1929 (just two years after the formation of the College in 1927), through to now, the Committee has developed strongly and its work, particularly in advocating with Government is very well respected.

The 90th anniversary dinner of the State Committee
Photo (right): Professor Deborah Bailey, current Chair, Queensland State Committee 
At the recent dinner, the current Chair Professor Deborah Bailey (also the state's first female Chair) thanked the current and previous Committee members for their hard work over this time. She also thanked the College staff locally and in head office for the continuity of knowledge and the work they do, so that the Fellows can advocate for improved standard and health outcomes in the community. The dinner attendees also noted the change in dress code standards over the last 15 years for the QSC dinner.
75th anniversary dinner and AGM of the Queensland State Committee
(L-R): Prof David Theile AO, Prof Errol Maguire AM RFD, A/Prof Hugh Bartholomeusz OAM (QSC Chair in 2004), A/Prof Peter Woodruff AM, Dr Claude Mann, The Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO (Governor of Queensland 2003-08 who later became the first woman Governor-General of Australia 2008-2014), Dr Jon Cohen, A/Prof Leigh Atkinson AO, Dr Russell Stitz AM, Dr Robert Hodge, Dr George Fielding AM.
Preparation for Private Practice
Another successful Preparation for Practice workshop was held in Queensland in mid-November, with a total of 17 college members and affiliates attending the comprehensive two-day workshop aimed at addressing the nuances of beginning the journey into private practice. 

Over the two-days attendees sought advice on how to transition from their surgical training and their many years of study to become small business operator/medical specialists. A number of expert speakers from a range of different backgrounds were on hand to provide attendees with practical tips on how they could put into action their expertise.

The convenors Dr Stu Collins (Urologist), Dr Ben Lancashire (General surgeon), and Dr Drew Cronin (Plastic & reconstructive surgeon) took the attendees through many of the topics, issues and potential pitfalls for private practice. Some of the areas covered in the talks included:
  • addressing private practice administration
  • financial and practice business structures
  • medico-legal aspects
  • Medicare and private health funds
  • practice software
  • identifying pressures and strategies to maintain a healthy and balanced life
  • creating relationships between Fellows and referring doctors, staff, private hospitals and private insurance companies
Thank you to everyone who made this event such a huge success. We appreciate the support of two College Councillors, Prof Chair Pyke (Chair, Court of Examiners) and Prof Owen Ung (Councillor - QLD General surgeon) who gave their insights with their personal experiences with private practice and their interactions with the College.

Listen to our podcast on starting out in private practice
7th Annual Medical Student's Surgical Skills Competition
In late October the RACS Brisbane Office hosted the RACS Queensland Surgical Skills Competition. The initial heats were held at each of the Queensland medical schools: James Cook University, Bond University, Griffith University and University of Queensland. From the series of heats, five best contenders from each medical school participated in the 2019 RACS Queensland Surgical Skills Competition.

The educational team-based competition saw students were rotated through five skills stations: anatomy (theory), cyst removal, knot tying, suturing and laparoscopy. Students were given the chance to showcase their skills at each station where their performance was assessed by a panel of adjudicators who were also on hand to provide advice and feedback. These scores fed through to an overall ranking per student and university.

Congratulations to the:
  • Best University Team Score - Griffith University
  • Best Individual Overall Score - Hooman Baghaie from Griffith University
Special thanks to our adjudicators on the day:
  • Dr Peter Yuide (convenor), General surgeon, Younger Fellow
  • Dr Stephen White, General surgeon, Senior Consultant
  • Dr Imogen Ibbett, Neurosurgery trainee, Chair, RACSTA
  • Dr Kevin Lah, General surgery trainee
  • Dr Jeannine McManus, Plastic & reconstructive surgery trainee
  • Dr Hajir Nabi, General surgeon, Younger Fellow
  • Dr Mairi McLaren, General surgery trainee, RACSTA Queensland representative
The competition was a thoroughly enjoyable event conducted in an excellent spirit. We saw great improvements in surgical competencies from the students. Interesting to note that a number of participants in previous years have progressed to obtaining a position on the SET training program.
Queensland Younger Fellows Travel Grant
Applications close date extended to: Wednesday 11 December 2019

The Queensland State Committee (QSC) through the Younger Fellows Advisory Group are offering two (2) travel grants to assist Younger Fellows who are working/studying interstate or abroad and plan to return to practice in Queensland.

The grants (two available) are valued at $2,500 (incl. GST) and a further $500 (incl. GST) is provided to the QSC for the attendance of the recipient at the RACS Queensland Scientific Conference to cover costs of registration and the official meeting dinner. Apply today
New Fellow Rural Placement Program
Expression of Interest
Applications close Monday 16 December 2019

RACS are pleased to announce that the Department of Health have approved RACS to pilot a new Specialist Training Program, the New Fellow Rural Placement. The program will provide a new Fellow comprehensive, high quality experience in a rural location, to help them consolidate their skills and encourage them to consider working in a rural setting long term.
Further information
Photo (above): members of the surgical department in Townsville Hospital meeting with the College President Dr Tony Sparnon during the recent QASM Seminar

Composition of the Queensland State Committee
The State Committee is beginning a process of reviewing its membership. Currently there are 12 elected positions, and a number of ex-officio and co-opted positions (including specialty society representation).

The Committee is looking at ways to guarantee or make mandatory adequate representation from outside the south-east corner of the state. For those who may not be aware, only approximately 55% of Fellows are located in Brisbane and this increases to 70% when the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coat are factored in. It is important then, adequate representation on the Committee is provided for the 30% outside of the south-east corner.

If you have any suggestions or ideas on how this representation could be implemented. Feel free to contact the RACS Queensland Office via email or phone +61 7 3249 2910.
Continuing Professional Development
As the CPD year is coming to an end, it is now is the time to finalise your participation for the year ending 31 December 2019. Reminder notices was sent via email early November.

7% of Fellows will be randomly selected for verification. This means if you are selected, you will need to add supporting documentation for activities entered. Any activities that you have attended that are RACS approved, will be automatically verified and you will not be required to do anything.

We are pleased to congratulate Fellows on their strong commitment to lifelong learning, which is evident, as we recorded 100% compliance for those Fellows participating in RACS CPD program in 2018. More information
Join the RACS Indigenous Health Committee
Our Indigenous Health Committee is instrumental in the development and implementation of our commitment to addressing health inequities of Indigenous people of Australia and New Zealand. Submit an expression of interest by 31 January 2020. More information
Free pocket diary for 2020
Order your RACS 2020 pocket diary today.
The attractive leather cover pocket size diary is complimentary to RACS members until stocks last. Email to place your order.
Queensland Charity Ball 2020
Howard Smith Wharves, Brisbane City
5 September 2020
RACS Queensland are excited to be holding the next Charity Ball at Brisbane's newest and hottest venue - Howard Smith Wharves. The theme will be Havana Nights and our nominated charity TBC.

Save the date and stay tuned
T: +61 402 736 732
Professional Development opportunities in Queensland
Operating with Respect (OWR) course
22 February 2020, Brisbane
5 June 2020, Brisbane

Foundation Skills for Surgical Educators (FSSE) course
2 May 2020, Brisbane
13 June 2020, Brisbane
Skills Training opportunities in Queensland
Australian Surgical Skills Education & Training (ASSET) course
13-14 March 2020, Brisbane

Care of the Critically Ill Surgical Patient (CCrISP) course
20-22 March 2020, Brisbane

Critical Literature Evaluations & Research (CLEAR) course
3-4 April 2020, Brisbane

Early Management of Severe Trauma (EMST) course
13-15 March 2020, Brisbane
3-5 April 2020, Brisbane
RACSTA: an important support for surgical trainees
The College's Trainee Association (RACSTA) serves an important role in representing the interests of surgical trainees. Dr Imogen Ibbett, Chair of RACSTA, explains the good work the organisation is involved with and how it strongly advocates the quality of training, workplace culture and well-being of trainees.
Listen to the podcast
Tale of two surgeons in a regional city
Living and working in regional parts of Australia can be immensely rewarding for surgeons. Port Macquarie has been an attractive place to call home for both Dr Kesley Pedler, Dr Rupert Snyman and their families. They discuss why they made the move, the work they do, some challenges of working in a regional city and why they want to stay. Listen to the podcast
Not in your best interests: the challenge of declining treatment
You are called to see a patient who has presented to the ED after a fall. The patient is 85 years old and an X-ray shows a fractured neck of femur. He also has respiratory failure. He is confused and has been given endone. He is accompanied by his son and daughter-in-law. You do not think that surgery is in his best interests given his co-morbidities. The patient and his family are keen to "have everything done".
How would you manage this situation?
Read more
It's important your medical practice has a solid foundation to grow
Whether you are establishing a new medical practice or have been in a practice for years, medical accounting expert Hugh Walsh says it is critical you have solid foundations which can only be achieved by focusing on five key areas.

The steps you take in establishing or running a medical practice play a major role in how successful it is in the future. Read more
Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital
14-15 February 2020
The Centre for Excellence and Innovation in Anesthesia (CEIA) invites you to attend the Perioperative Patient Blood Management Symposium.
Further information
Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
26-29 October 2020

Hosted by the Australasian Trauma Society
More information
Are you taking advantage of the College's free logbook and audit tool?
The Morbidity Audit and Logbook Tool (MALT) is:
  • Free to use for all RACS members
  • Secure, online tool for data collection
  • Ideal for self-audit and peer-review audit
  • Fully supported with a dedicated MALT Helpdesk team
  • Integrated with your RACS online access.
Contact the MALT Helpdesk for personalised troubleshooting and instructions. We also offer online training and demonstrations.
More information
Surgeons wellbeing
Coping with the demands of a busy profession, maintaining skills and knowledge, and balancing family and personal commitments can be difficult.

We can all benefit from independent health professional advise. Don't be one of the 40 per cent of surgeons who hasn't seen a GP lately.
Find out more
Queensland State Conference and other reading lists
In July 2019 Library staff attended the Queensland State Conference Seven (st)ages of a surgeon and also created a reading list (PDF 187KB) of related e-resources which was made available at the conference.

Other reading lists of interest include other states' and New Zealand conferences as well as courses such as Preparation for Practice, Clinical Decision Making and Surgeons as Leaders in Everyday PracticeAccess all reading lists

T: +61 3 9249 1271
Don't miss out on your welcome bonus
We Enjoy a specially negotiated welcome offer of 100,000 bonus points and reduced annual fee of 1,200 simply through your RACS benefits. Apply today for the Professionals American Express® Platinum Card for highlights including:
  •  $450 Travel Credit each year
  • 24/7 Platinum Concierge service
  • Access to 1,200 airport loungers in over 130 countries
Now add up to 4 additional Platinum Cards to enjoy many of the same benefits you do, for no extra fee. Apply for your card or call 1300 853 352 for more information.
Prevocational doctors can subscribe to an ePortfolio and educational resources that have been designed to support the Framework and promote flexible online self-directed learning.
Subscribe to JDocs
SimuSurg app
Experience a virtual operative environment to refine your operating skills. The app created by surgeons for surgeons simulates minimally invasive surgery.

Download SimuSurg via the App Store or Google Play.
Speak Up app
RACS' new app can assist surgeons to comfortably address unacceptable behaviour using the Vanderbilt model, from the Operating with Respect (OWR) course.

Download the app via the App Store or Google Play.
Confidential support services are available for College members and their immediate family or household members. Experienced counsellors are available to speak with you about personal or work related matters.
More information
The RACS Queensland State Committee and College staff would like to wish you and your families a very happy holiday season and best wishes for 2020.

Professor Deborah Bailey
Queensland State Committee
RACS Queensland webpage
RACS Queensland Email
RACS Twitter
RACS Facebook
RACS YouTube
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