College of Intensive Care Medicine
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College response to COVID-19
13 March, 2020
Dear Fellows and Trainees,
If your email inbox is anything like mine, then you will have been inundated with updates and guides on the Covid-19 situation. I don’t propose to compound that information overload and will leave specific advice on clinical management to appropriate authorities. However, there are some aspects of the response to Covid-19 that are of direct relevance to the College.
The Board has been meeting this week in Melbourne. The response of other Colleges, the general advice provided by medical authorities and the travel restrictions imposed by a range of health authorities and institutions in Australia, New Zealand and around the world were all considered in deciding the response we needed to make to the emerging Covid-19 pandemic. In the end, we determined that it would be irresponsible to sponsor any large gathering of intensive care doctors in Australia and New Zealand for the time being. Some aspects of College work need to continue however, and can be maintained safely, while the consequences of stopping or discontinuing some other College activities are sufficiently high to warrant all possible attempts to continue these activities if this can be undertaken safely. In summary then, The Board has decided the following:
ASM, ICU update, Trainee Symposium
scheduled for May in Wellington NZ are all postponed. Because planning for the 2021 ASM in Perth is already well advanced with bookings made etc. the Board has decided to re-schedule the 2020 Wellington ASM to 2022. If you have registered for any of the events at the 2020 ASM including the graduation ceremony you will be contacted next week with details regarding a full refund and rescheduling of graduation.
Rural Conference –
the STP Conference that was due to be held in Alice Springs in June, has also been postponed to a future date, as yet undetermined
The Board have agreed for the moment, that the oral components of both the First Part and Second Part Examinations will go ahead as planned in May. This is obviously a fluid situation and the College will communicate directly with candidates regularly to ensure everyone is fully aware of the situation. During this time, the College will continue to explore contingency plans for alternative ways to run the examination if the situation changes and to minimise any risk to both examiners and candidates. Complete cancellation of the exams would only occur as a ‘last resort’ response to the emerging situation.
– Wellington. This will be postponed to a later date, yet to be decided.
Future planned meetings and courses:
All planned future initiatives including the New Fellows and Directors Conferences remain under active consideration but have not been postponed or cancelled at this stage.
Hospital Accreditation Visits
– these will be assessed on an individual basis in consultation with Directors of individual units. Priority will be afforded to Units for whom accreditation decisions might affect 2021 recruitment.
If you have registered for an event, are sitting the examination, or have a scheduled upcoming accreditation inspection, a member of the College staff will contact you next week to provide further details.
From a clinical perspective, the College is continuing to participate in an initiative led by ANZICS to provide a management guideline that is appropriate for the Australian and New Zealand situation.
As we move into uncharted territory in relation to Covid-19, I have every confidence in the willingness and the capability of the intensive care community to provide world’s best care for the patients suffering respiratory failure as a result of this infection. Certainly we can expect that the situation will deteriorate significantly before we see any resolution and I would urge us all to not only provide good care for the patients but to take good care of ourselves and of each other and of all the other staff that constitute the Intensive Care team. This will undoubtedly be a stressful time for us and I would encourage you to strengthen your group liaisons to be able to provide each other with support and to reach out where possible to provide assistance to ICUs and individuals who may be somewhat isolated. Also, remember that other College support is available including access to individual support via Converge.
With my very best wishes,
Dr Raymond Raper