RACS Advocacy


Find a surgeon

The Find a Surgeon directory is a listing of active Fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons who meet the requirements of the College's Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Program and have opted to be on the list. This list excludes retired or inactive Fellows.

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Australian Government’s response to the Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee Urogynaecological Mesh Inquiry

19 December 2018

This response to the Senate Inquiry and recommendations from the Commonwealth Health Minister and Chief Medical Officer represents a consensus from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons with and on behalf of the specialty groups with whom many Fellows of RACS identify, including the Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand (USANZ), the Colorectal Surgical Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSSANZ), and General Surgeons Australia (GSA) ("the Specialty Surgical Societies"). The majority of surgeons implanting Urogynaecological mesh are not members of RACS and consideration should be given to undertaking research into principles for reducing risk of implantation of foreign materials as it relates to Urogynaecological mesh.

Second Consultation: National Competency Framework and Standards for Podiatry Surgeons

14 December 2018

We have had the opportunity to review the response prepared by the Australian Orthopaedic Association (AOA) to this consultation and are broadly supportive of the issues they have highlighted, particularly the problematic application of existing competency frameworks within this proposed standard.

ACT Independent Review into Workplace Culture

30 November 2018

RACS welcomes the Independent Review into the Workplace Culture within ACT Public Health Services. Workplace culture can have a significant impact on employees and the service they are able to deliver. 

Supplementary Submission to the Independent Review of the Enterprise Patient Administration System (South Australia)

08 November 2018

Our health system is interconnected in such a way that clinicians and patients regularly work or seek treatment across multiple hospital sites and health networks. When EPAS was first introduced in to South Australian hospitals it was hoped that it would provide an integrated and consistent electronic health records system, which would result in safer, more efficient, and effective patient care. Despite the well-documented failures of the software, the principles of greater integration and consistency should remain a continuing priority.

MBS Review Consultation: Discussion on current arrangements for surgical assistants

11 October 2018

Medical surgical assistants are greatly valued by our surgeons who utilises their skills and experience, especially in rural and remote areas. The Medical Surgical Assistants Society of Australia (MSASA) has made a compelling argument to RACS. They have argued against the bundling of patient rebates for surgical assistants and have research to show that "the overwhelming majority of MSA accounts are either no gap (93%) or 'no and known gap' (99.69%)… from private billing agency accounts of 450,000 services provided under group T9 by several thousand assisting doctors over the last 10 years."

The following Four Principles being examined by the MBS Review are as follows;

1. Informed financial consent on the part of the patient is a fundamental principle underpinning the provision of MBS services.

2. The cost to patients of a particular surgical service subsidised through the MBS should not vary significantly when services are provided under similar circumstances.

3. The primary surgeon should have control over the patient's out-of-pocket costs for the primary and assistant (if any) surgical services.

4. When using a designated assistant for a procedure, the primary surgeon should take responsibility for the remuneration of the assistant.

2018 Victoria Election Issues

20 September 2018

Prior to all government elections in Australia and New Zealand, RACS outlines areas of specific concern and relevance to the delivery of surgical services. We then provide an opportunity for political parties to outline their policy positions on these key issues relevant to the delivery of surgical services, and distribute these responses to our membership and the public.

Reactivating the Repat (South Australia)

11 September 2018

At present the multi-day surgical case load at Flinders Medical Centre tends to be dominated by more complex cases, such as cancer surgery. Conversely, Noarlunga Hospital only has the capacity to perform same day surgical procedures. As a consequence it can be difficult to facilitate multi-day surgical procedures of intermediate complexity at SALHN. RACS recommends that the Repat prioritises these types of surgical procedures, as part of a co-ordinated effort to reduce elective surgery waiting times across the network.

In addition, there are also long wait times in the south for patients that require colonoscopy procedures following a positive stool test. Demand for these services is expected to increase as the National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme is rolled out further, and therefore it essential that the adequate resources are dedicated to ensuring that SALHN has the capacity to meet these demand pressures. Consideration should be given as to what broader strategies can be implemented to deal with this issue across the network, including what role the Repat can play in this regard.

Publication of Outpatients waiting times

11 September 2018

RACS has previously highlighted issues with 'hidden waiting lists' in outpatient appointment times. Although we have heard anecdotal reports from our membership, without regularly published data it has been difficult to identify the extent of the problem. We are therefore supportive of the principles of greater transparency in this area.

Independent Review of the Enterprise Patient Administration System (South Australia)

31 August 2018

Since EPAS' inception, RACS has continually sought feedback from our membership about their experience in using the system. Our submission outlines the key points that have been raised with us, followed by a series of recommendations.

Loosening of gun control laws in Tasmania

03 July 2018

The Australian Senate passed unprecedented gun laws in June 1996 just twelve days after Martin Bryant used semi-automatic rifles to slaughter 35 people at Port Arthur. The National Firearms Agreement banning rapid-fire long guns was introduced to reduce the availability of fire-arms and prevent mass shootings. This has proved to be one of Australia's most successful public health measures. The proposed changes by the Tasmanian government to water down the gun control laws contravene the spirit of the National Firearms agreement and legislation which is there to limit access to dangerous weapons in the community.


ACCC's Review on Quad Bike Safety

08 May 2018

Thank you for the invitation to the Quad bike safety stakeholder roundtable on 5 April 2018 and the opportunity to provide further input to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's review of quad bike safety.

Closing The Gap Refresh

01 May 2018

RACS formalised its commitment to reconciliation in 2016 with the launch of RACS Reconciliation Action Plan. For RACS the journey towards reconciliation is focused on improving opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors seeking careers in surgery, and medical education.

Submission to the Inquiry into progress under the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020

12 April 2018

RACS sees real potential to significantly reduce road-related deaths and serious injury if governments can take immediate action in the following areas:

  1. Engage multiple government portfolios to become involved in the prevention of road trauma.
  2. Improve the quality of road trauma data by establishing agreed definitions, methodologies, and measurement tools.
  3. Document the complete journey of the seriously injured patient to gain a better understanding of the true cost of injury and where and how it is occurring.
  4. Advocate for legislation for enhanced safety features for all new vehicles (cars and heavy vehicles)
  5. Activate point to point cameras for all road users.
  6. Safer behaviour for all road-users.
  7. Speed.

Inquiry into cosmetic health service complaints in New South Wales

06 April 2018

The New South Wales Committee's position is:

  • That further protections need to be put in place, particularly around confusing naming.
  • The title "surgeon" should be protected for use by Fellows of recognised organisations such as RACS, or equivalent in other fields.
  • There needs to be further protections in place in regards to the registration and practices of beauty salons. With all injectable procedures prescribed by a medical practitioner.
  • We also feel that the Health Care Complaints Inquiry has influence over registered practitioners and organisations; however increased visibility over the practitioners and organisations, qualifications, experience and scope would potentially speed up process and also protect the consumer more and
  • Collaboration is essential to continual development of safe practice.

Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill (NZ)

05 April 2018

RACS recently considered the legalisation of medicinal cannabis in response to legislation proposed in South Australia in early 2017.

At that time we felt there was insufficient evidence to support the medicinal use of cannabis, and we do not believe additional evidence has been forthcoming in the past year.

While some scientific evidence exists to indicate the potential therapeutic value of cannabis-derived products, there is also considerable evidence highlighting the dangers of frequent cannabis use.

Overall the scientific and clinical evidence to justify legalisation is poor, and consequently RACS has formed the position not to support the pathway for patient access to medicinal cannabis in New Zealand or Australia.

AHPRA draft revised guidelines 'Sexual boundaries in the doctor-patient relationship'

26 March 2018

In preparing a response, RACS consulted with surgical specialty societies and associations. While there were no significant concerns with the existing guidelines, we felt that revised document is readable, clear and relevant to the surgical professional. RACS has no additional changes to offer and supports the proposed revisions.

National Alcohol Strategy 2018-2026

26 February 2018

RACS has advocated against the harmful effects of alcohol for many years, not only for the increased risk of complication it poses to surgical patients, but also for the broader ramifications it has on the sustainability of our public health system and society as a whole. Overall, the estimated one in eight hospitalisations relating to alcohol misuse continue to represent a significant and concerning proportion of health system workload.

RACS recognises the importance of the Australian and state and territory governments working collaboratively with non-government agencies and community groups to reduce the social, economic and health costs of alcohol. To this end, we provided input to the 2015 National Alcohol Strategy consultation. Regular updates on the development and implementation of the National Alcohol Strategy 2018-2026 will assist us in providing ongoing expertise.

Inquiry into the future sustainability of health funding in the ACT

23 February 2018

Key Points

  • The sustainability of health funding in the ACT depends upon a collaborative approach from the government, health services, clinicians and patients.
  • Clinicians should be better engaged in funding decisions and service planning, and educated about health economics and wastage.
  • Further investigation is needed into the reasons why cost per weighted separation in the ACT is second highest in the country.
  • RACS supports the Government's focus on preventative health measures and efforts to reduce unnecessary presentations to emergency departments.

Tasmanian Election Statement 2018

16 February 2018

RACS has identified six key focus areas relevant to the 2018 Tasmanian Election:

  1. Teaching, Training and Research
  2. Elective Surgery Waiting Lists
  3. Clinical Engagement and a Culture of Respect
  4. Tasmanian Audit of Surgical Mortality
  5. Alcohol Related Harm
  6. Trauma

South Australian Election Statement 2018

22 January 2018

RACS has identified seven key focus areas relevant to the 2018 South Australian Election:

  1. Delivery of Surgical Services across the local health networks
  2. Clinician engagement
  3. Teaching, Training and Research
  4. Surgical Technology
  5. South Australian Audit of Surgical Mortality
  6. Alcohol Related Harm
  7. Recognition of Paid Parental Leave Entitlements and Diversification of Surgical Workforce 

Download Response from the SA Best Party (PDF 380KB)

Download Summary of Responses from all Parties (PDF 32KB)

Download Response from the Australian Conservatives Party (PDF 24KB)

2018-19 Pre-Budget Submission

09 January 2018

RACS has identified five key focus areas relevant to the 2018-19 Budget:

  1. Maintaining high quality and timely access to healthcare
  2. Recognition of the burden of trauma on the healthcare system
  3. National leadership to reduce alcohol-related harm
  4. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health
  5. Surgical training and academic pathways

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