In my last report, I discussed the role of RANZCOG as the entity representing women’s health in Australia and New Zealand. Advocacy in health can mean a number of different things: advocating for a particular patient, a group of patients or advocating for social change for disadvantaged patients.
The goal of advocacy in health is to elicit improvements in health outcomes for those who may not necessarily have a voice or be appropriately represented in the broader policy debate. RANZCOG has a strong history of advocating for women’s health in general, but also for supporting and representing those who may be experiencing disadvantage in particular. The College is in the privileged position of being able to draw on the knowledge and experience of many eminent practitioners who willingly contribute their time and considerable expertise in the pursuit of equitable health outcomes. Having recently attended the conference of the Pacific Society for Reproductive Health (PSRH), I was once more impressed by the generosity of many College Fellows and other health professionals who ran workshops and gave presentations during this meeting. While the disparity in health outcomes for women and babies in the Pacific region continues to pose significant challenges, the commitment and dedication shown by those involved was inspirational.
What can RANZCOG do?
The College’s Foundation was originally established as a vehicle for disseminating funds for research and for the development and preservation of the College’s historical collections. More recently, however, the scope of the Foundation has expanded to include indigenous and global health initiatives. The soon-to-be released Global Health Strategic Plan will outline the goals that RANZCOG has identified, in collaboration with various stakeholders, and will enable the College to attract and disburse funding for specific purposes aligned to the identified goals. It is an exciting time for the Foundation as it seeks to reposition itself within the College to become the philanthropic body responsible for supporting the global, indigenous and research goals of the organisation.
RANZCOG receives regular requests for submissions and feedback on a variety of issues relating to women’s health in Australia and New Zealand. As previously stated, RANZCOG is in the fortunate position of having many eminent experts in women’s health as members and the College’s views are often sought when government, agencies and other entities are developing policies, statements and guideline documents. Given the breadth and depth of knowledge residing within the membership, the Board has expressed a desire to draw upon this expertise in a more strategic manner. It is anticipated that by involving more of our members in the consultation process, it will not only enhance engagement, but also enhance the quality of the responses RANZCOG is able to provide.
In 2017 alone, RANZCOG has already provided more than 50 responses to requests for submissions or feedback and often the College needs to rely on a regular group of contributors who graciously give up their precious time for this endeavour.
In order to provide more opportunities for our members to participate in these consultations and to open the discussions to broader viewpoints, RANZCOG has a ‘Public Consultation’ page on the website where open consultations can be found. Members who wish to provide feedback to inform College submissions can do so by accessing this page via the link in Collegiate. Should you need assistance in locating this page, please contact Member Services, who will be happy to assist you.
An ongoing objective for the College is to enhance the support provided to trainees through developing actions and resources for this specific purpose. RANZCOG was fortunate to be provided with a small grant through the STP project funding and has established the ‘Respectful Workplaces’ project. Part of this project includes the establishment of a Training Support Unit and the appointment of a Trainee Liaison Support Officer, with recruitment for this position underway. The Training Support Unit will provide enhanced support to trainees, supervisors and ITP Coordinators. The project has also seen the development of a number of online resources and associated face-to-face workshops, which will be rolled out later in the year.
The Respectful Workplaces program emphasises the need for mutual respect between all members of the team, patients and their families and this includes raising awareness about giving and receiving feedback. As the vast majority of all hospital complaints involve communication, it is critical that trainees are aware of the need to communicate effectively and this is a skill that needs to be developed. While many people are natural communicators; good listeners, empathetic and self-aware, the same can not be said for everyone and spending some time reflecting on these skills will be time well spent.
Membership and Marketing
The Membership and Marketing team have been very active in the redevelopment of the website, refreshing the appearance and layout of ANZJOG and O&G Magazine and redevelopment of the Guidance App, which now links directly to the RANZCOG website, ensuring that all updates are provided in real time. The team is currently working on the new O&G Magazine site to allow users to search articles from the magazine’s archive and we hope to launch this at the ASM in Auckland. Over the coming months, the Member Services team will be transitioning responsibility from IT and Finance for managing most of the incoming queries regarding the use of My.RANZCOG. This will allow the team to begin the process of becoming a centralised area for service to all members and first port of call for all enquiries on a 1300 number. These activities are being developed to provide a better experience for our members so that you can access the information you need in a timely manner.
Many of you may have viewed the President’s video regarding accommodation at College House. As you are aware, the staffing needs of the College have outgrown the current accommodation and we are now considering the various options available. We are very mindful of the significance of College House to our members and, so, any decisions will be made prudently and with great care for the history and heritage of RANZCOG. We will be sure to keep you informed of the outcomes of any discussions as they emerge.