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President's message early December 2023
4 December, 2023
It’s been a while since I last updated you - the last two-months have seen significant activity within the College, some major decisions at home in ANZ, and significant events overseas.
Australia voted "No" to altering the constitution to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people through the creation of an Indigenous advisory body. After careful deliberation, and along with several healthcare organisations, we publicly supported the ‘Yes Vote’ Voice to Parliament: Our view was that this falls within our scope of ANZ advocacy for promoting a forum which could highlight and [ideally] address health inequity.
To be clear, College support for a position based on our limited scope is not the same as telling Australians how to vote in a complex national issue. I acknowledge that the referendum result has left some deeply disappointed, and I’ve received several communications to this effect. It is not my place to project an opinion on this result, however, what I can say is that
CICM remains committed to supporting the Uluru Statement From The Heart
, and to the principles of listening to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices, particularly in relation to health and wellbeing. Of course, the same goes for Māori and Pacific Island Peoples in Aotearoa New Zealand.
New Zealand voted in a General Election, which will herald a new government and (yet more) uncertainty. The outgoing government put unprecedented but long overdue investment into ICU services in Aotearoa. Whilst in opposition, the incoming government spent much of the pandemic decrying the chronic shortage/disparity of ICU services as a major priority to fix; we will advocate that they will maintain this position now at the helm. The coalition agreement includes some policies which have created robust feedback from the medical community. We are actively engaging with other Colleges via the CMC in Aotearoa to advocate for the maintenance of legislation that promotes the health of the people over the generation of revenue. To this end, we have signed an open letter of support for a Smokefree 2025 Aotearoa action plan.
These domestic issues are on a backdrop of the humanitarian disaster that has unfolded in the Middle East. Emerging details of the violence and ongoing suffering have been extremely distressing and have resulted in wide reaching inter-personal conflict. I’m aware that many of our Trainees and Fellows have been affected by these events, and I want to acknowledge that these are distressing times, and that our
member support services
Focusing back on College functions, I want to acknowledge all those who have been involved in the recent First Part, Second Part Adult and Paediatric Examinations. I know how hard everyone has worked to prepare, and especially extend our gratitude to those ICU’s who facilitated the clinical component.
The ACER Report on the March Second Part Written Examination has been received and discussed with Examiners and Trainees. It will shortly be available to all Trainees and Fellows, with more specific communications to follow. Over the past few months, a group of Examiners have been working to deliver a comprehensive syllabus to support the Second Part General Exam, and enhance clarity and transparency on examination content for Trainees and SOTs. There will be more on this in due course.
Further to my reference last month on the enormity of rebuilding and rolling out an entire IT project that straddles all the functions of a modern medical college. Our IT team informed the Board that we are subject to multiple daily cyber-attacks as a ‘new normal’ for organisations of our size. This is why we have all that ‘niggly’ security and in-house education.
In anticipation of your needing to enter your 2023 CPD activities, it was clear that we needed to prioritise several CPD portal enhancements. I was, like many of you, frustrated and disappointed to find our website had frozen last week, only to receive terse and generic email of non-compliance. I can assure you that
this messaging did not come from or via the College IT team
. We have engaged robustly with our external IT-partners to understand how this happened. I can assure you that we will ensure that the tone, content and utility of the messaging are better. More importantly, a shared understanding of the required functionality of the product we are partnering to deliver. Automated population of College activities (e.g ASM, exams, SOT workshops, WBA’s) will be the end result.
There are enhancements to the portal which should be live by the time you read this. A significant sum in the 2024 budget has been allocated to turning the portal into the product it needs to be - for all of our members, and I can’t stress enough how grateful I am to the CICM staff who are managing this complex process.
November saw the final board meeting of 2023, with a packed agenda. A Board report will come in due course. The Board considered the 2021-2023 Strategic Plan with a view to its update. A consensus was reached to widen this to a review of the Objects of the College as we mature and grow. This will be a more meaningful but significant body of work which will require the engagement and input of the wider fellowship and other stakeholders. In the shorter term, we have committed to undertake a consultation on including our role in promoting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Māori and Pasifika health within our specific remit. Elsewhere, the Board approved the updated
document which can be accessed via our
Looking forward to next year, the 2024 ASM committee have put together a fantastic program for the Gold Coast in May. Registrations will open shortly.
Finally, I want to acknowledge the passing of Dr Ted Ward, a senior retired ICM specialist from Hawkes Bay. Ted was one of the first ICM specialists in regional New Zealand, and made a massive contribution to our speciality in the areas of retrieval and equipment design. He was awarded the Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2019 — for services to intensive care. Ted clearly had a pivotal influence on the careers of many colleagues over several disciplines. My thoughts are with his friends, family and colleagues at this time.
So, that’s all from me. I will be back in touch before the end of the year.
Thank you for taking the time to read this,