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President's message December 2023
21 December, 2023
Tēnā koutou katoa-
(Hello to you all),
As we approach the end of 2023, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank all who have contributed to our College over what has been a big year
: We achieved a milestone for our College when we formally opened our newly-built home at the corner of Porter and High Street in Prahran, Melbourne. The space reflects our ethos by being bright, modern, inclusive, respectful of roots and slowly trying to go green (plants, not mould).
The year has seen the College work hard to address the requirements and recommendations of the 2022 AMC/MCNZ accreditation findings. In education, we have commenced work on a program of ‘Monitoring and Evaluation’ [of selected elements of our education and assessment program.] Our goal is to develop a robust and comprehensive M&E for each element of our program, which will be a longer term resource investment.
It is hard to convey here my gratitude for the enormous effort and dedication of our staff, the three exam committee chairs, and examiner groups during a year where our assessments generated significant feedback. This team have worked tirelessly to deliver projects that will have a significant positive impact on trainee experience of navigating these challenging milestones. I would encourage you to read the ACER report and associated communications, available
For the wider Fellowship, we enjoyed the opportunity to gather in May for a fantastic ASM in Perth. The rest of the year seemed to go really quickly- and it was suddenly time to log in and fill out the CPD diary. The vision is for a system that automatically populates your CPD diary with College-related activities- with the process for logging (and even logging on) smooth and seamless. We are not yet there- despite the best efforts of all at the College. The scope, complexity and challenges of rolling out the MDP whilst working with our external partner have been detailed previously. The diary needed to be released in a vestigial form in order to accommodate the diligent, and our vision for where it needs to be is clear. We will be updating you in the new year regarding how and when that vision will be realised, but I can assure you it is an absolute priority.
Our trainees have worked hard both clinically and academically. Engaging our trainees is essential, but covering them for protected teaching is a ready reminder of the skill, dedication and value they bring to an ICU. There’s no better feeling than handing that pager back to a trainee as they look back with a mixture of curiosity and pity. I was honoured to catch up with the trainees from Aotearoa and South Australia in person for the respective trainee days. If your State is yet to hold one, please reach out on how we can help make it happen in 2024. You will not regret learning what you learn at these events.
From an organisational perspective, the year has not been smooth sailing
: By the end of the first quarter, the global financial conditions had brought unprecedented speed of interest-rate rises. This has affected the not-for-profit sector significantly, especially a College who have borrowed and built. We were well positioned via our FARM committee to advise the Board, who responded by re-structuring our College finances utilising expert advice. This means we can spend less in interest and more on those activities which focus on our core functions and that bring value to Trainees and Fellows. Whilst we find ourselves in an acceptable position, setting the budget for next year has been particularly complex.
Externally, it’s been a politically and emotionally challenging year
: My monthly address seems to refer to a climate disaster to the point of being repetitive. I feel it’s important to acknowledge the loss of life, and disruption that these events impart to our members when they hit. My thoughts are with those in Far North Queensland who are currently negotiating crocodile-infested water to go about their daily lives.
Political storms have also featured: The Voice to Parliament referendum was hoped by many Australians to be a watershed event. Irrespective of your views, I would advocate that the result deserves thoughtful and contextual
as we all seek to learn.
As we focus on ‘our lane’, the Medical Colleges have received significant public ministerial criticism for a range of issues including [our perceived collective role in] medical workforce supply, accreditation of training sites, and SIMG experiences of coming to Australia. We remain fully engaged with Federal and State leaders both as an individual College, and via the inter-collegiate forums on both sides of the Tasman (CPMC and CMC respectively) to offer a collaborative but realistic voice to the highly complex and inter-dependant issues that we all struggle with.
In Aotearoa New Zealand the year commenced with floods and landslides, with loss of life of colleagues in the emergency services, and large areas of the country devastated. The knock-on effects of this are still being felt. Later, an unprecedented strike by Senior Doctors spanned a general election which brought a change of government, switches in direction and therefore more policy uncertainty.
We are reminded however about what really matters:
Our community was stunned by the sudden death of Michael Yung in Adelaide. Whilst the media focus on the incomprehensible, I want to focus on what Michael achieved. A beautifully-written tribute penned by his colleagues and released by ANZICS/ACCCN/CICM gives a snapshot of Michael’s incredible contribution to PICU. He was clearly loved and respected as a dedicated doctor, colleague, educator and friend. Our small ICU family band together at times of adversity and we focus on what really matters.
I want to leave you with a quote from someone with whose work we are all familiar.
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” - Elisabeth Kübler-Ross:
So in summary, it’s been an uphill year that will make us all reflect, appreciate and improve. In the meantime, I hope you all get a decent bit of time off to recharge.
My heartfelt thanks and best wishes and
Meri Kirihimete (Merry Christmas)
to you all,
Tēnā koutou katoa-
(Hello to you all),