President’s Blog – April 2022

RANZCOG President Dr Benjamin Bopp provides an update on College activities and advocacy across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.

RANZCOG

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

There has been positive news in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, with leaders in each country recently putting women’s health front and centre of public policy. In Australia, the Federal Government has committed $1.6 million over four years to fund RANZCOG to establish a National Advisory Council for Women’s Health to evaluate and monitor the implementation of the National Women’s Health Strategy 2020-2030.

The Council will bring together representatives of key women’s health organisations, including the voices of consumers and priority populations.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, we welcome the Government’s promise to establish a women’s health strategy. Women’s health provides a foundation for the health of the community. The health needs of women are different from men depending on their life stage, and these differences are important when it comes to decisions around type of care and health resourcing.

We thank the Australian and New Zealand governments and look forward to working with both and various other stakeholders to improve delivery of initiatives, health services, and equity and health outcomes for women.

Supporting FRANZCOG and DRANZCOG trainees

Following the deferral of exams in June and August, we are doing to all we can to support all affected candidates through this challenging time, ensuring progression through training. We held a Q&A session with FRANZCOG trainees earlier this month, with a similar session to be held for DRANZCOG trainees in May.

AOFOG Congress 2026 bid

Partnering with Business Events Sydney and supported by NSW Government and Tourism Australia, RANZCOG is bidding to bring the Asia & Oceania Federation of Obstetrics & Gynaecology (AOFOG) Congress to Sydney in 2026. AOFOG was last held in Australia in 1981. The time is right to bring it back ‘down under’, and what better place than the vibrant, welcoming and iconic Sydney. Like the Olympics, other cities are also bidding to host the conference. We cannot wait for the announcement of the winning bid, to be made at the AOFOG Congress in Bali next month (May 23 – 26). AOFOG member societies will vote at the Congress, so how can you help? Please show your support by sharing our messages and videos we will be posting on social media about our bid – it is all about engaging AOFOG member countries – and, if you can, attend the Congress in Bali to demonstrate the strong interest from the Australian community.

Regional Fellows Meeting

Last week, it was great to travel to Darwin to attend the start of the Regional Fellows Meeting. Seeing so many faces at the Diplomates Day was uplifting. CEO Vase Jovanoska and I took the opportunity to meet with NT Health Minister the Hon. Natasha Fyles, advocating for members and trainees who work in the Top End, and taking the opportunity to discuss how we can foster respect in workplaces, following the release of the College’s bullying, harassment and discrimination survey.

Network meetings

This year the State and Territory teams are hosting network meetings across Australia. These meetings are an opportunity for all members – from Fellows and trainees to retired Fellows and Diplomates – to come together either face-to-face or via Zoom and hear from your colleagues and meet College leadership and staff. ACT’s meeting will be held on 9 May (register); QLD’s on 19 May (register). Further meetings will be announced shortly. Stay tuned.

Vaccination and pregnancy

The College’s rescheduled webinar on vaccination and pregnancy will take place next week (4 May), covering Covid and flu vaccinations and their importance. Our speakers are experts in their field, I look forward to seeing you there.

Advocacy

It has been a busy month, attending meetings and events with various stakeholders including the Australian Department of Health, the Australasian Gynaecologic Endoscopy & Surgery (AGES), Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges (CPMC), and attending the careers evenings of the University of Melbourne’s Obstetrics and Gynaecology Society and the Pre-Vocational Obstetrics and Gynaecology Society (PVOGS) of Australia and New Zealand.

2022 Annual Scientific Meeting site visit

In late March I visited the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, the great venue for October’s Annual Scientific Meeting. With a wonderful program and workshops, exciting social activities and tremendous weather, make sure you register. I cannot wait to see you all.

Until next time,

Ben

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