Membership Letter from the President – November 2016
This has been a momentous year – we have rebranded to increase our visibility, appeal and influence; hosted two forums to keep members updated on issues impacting their practice; developed new networks (most notably obstetrics and paediatrics); produced a comprehensive health and safety manual tailored to anaesthetists; and have continued to advocate and champion the interests of anaesthetists and their patients across many issues.
We are also seeing a steady rise in membership as more anaesthetists recognise the integral role of the Society to advance New Zealand anaesthesia and the many benefits we offer you, including collaboration and collegiality.
Annual membership subscriptions are now due for renewal. We encourage you to continue your membership and thank you for your ongoing support. Membership fees are the main income source for the Society. The higher our membership the more resources we can invest in a stronger, more effective NZSA working on your behalf. Click here to log onto your profile page and renew your membership. Website payment is preferred but you can also pay via cheque, credit card via the office or internet banking utilising the account number 02 0168-0240227-000 (BNZ). Please ensure you reference your invoice number if you are not paying through the website to assist with payment reconciliation.
This is a timely opportunity to highlight just some of the work we have undertaken this year and to explain our vision and aspirations.
NZSA’s vision “To represent and support the best interests of the community of medically registered anaesthetists in New Zealand, and the safety of their patients.”
The Society is the only organisation solely representing the interests of New Zealand anaesthetists and we thank members who have helped us with our work, including our Executive Committee, sub-committees and networks for volunteering so much of their time and expertise. We encourage our members to engage with the Society so we are in tune with your needs and interests.
Key advocacy and education for 2016
Advocacy Our member surveys demonstrate that our advocacy role is highly valued by members and seen as one of our key roles. We provide advice and meet with the Health Minister, government officials and health sector leaders to put the case for anaesthesia on proposed changes to practices, medications and medical equipment. Our executive also invests considerable time in developing submissions on proposed legislation and policy. Some of the issues we have advocated on in 2016 include:
Workforce The NZSA and the NZ National Committee of the College of Anaesthetists set up a future anaesthesia workforce joint working group to explore the anaesthesia workforce. A survey was undertaken with clinical directors from the DHBs and a report released this year on the findings, which included:
- Maldistribution is a major problem. Oversupply in large metropolitan areas and under supply in rural areas.
- Overall there is probably a deficit in anaesthetic resource with many sites filling the gap with internal locum cover and/or overtime.
- In terms of supply and the number of anaesthetists being trained, the numbers are probably about right.
This is a complex issue with many drivers, and workforce supply and demand is notoriously difficult to predict. However, this is an issue we will continue to keep a close eye on and monitor. We are planning another census in a few years.
Assistants to the Anaesthetist Our key aim is to ensure all assistants to the anaesthetist have consistent and comparable standards and competencies, aligned to the professional standards of the College’s PS08 document.
The Medical Sciences Council is reviewing the anaesthetic technician scope of practice, to attain a multi-skilled workforce which is more functional in theatre and able to fulfil the needs of employers who need a more flexible health practitioner. The NZSA is working with many stakeholders to address the issues outlined. In terms of the Registered Nurse Assistant to the Anaesthetist (RNAA) role, this also needs to be appropriately trained and we provided input into the AUT course curriculum and exam. We’ve been working with the New Zealand National Committee of ANZCA, Health Workforce New Zealand, the Perioperative Nurses College and Anaesthetic Technicians on this issue.
Therapeutic Products Regulatory Regime The Medicines Act is to be repealed and replaced with a new Therapeutic Products Regulatory Regime, which includes extending the scope of practice of non-medical health practitioners to traditionally medical areas. We have some concerns that this will blur the distinction between the medical role of diagnosis and treatment, and other roles by health practitioners leading to overlapping scopes of practice. The current wording of the new Bill raises various concerns for anaesthetists, including that it may enable nurse anaesthesia. To safeguard the safety of patients we believe some drugs need to be restricted to a very defined scope of practice and competency base. We look forward to responding to the exposure draft of this legislation when it is released next year and will seek member input in developing our response.
Advocating for Private Practice Our Private Practice Sub-Committee has strong relationships with ACC, the New Zealand Private Surgical Hospitals Association and Southern Cross. The Committee meets regularly with these organisations to maintain open dialogue and collaboration. The sub-committee also initiated and organised two forums this year to keep members updated on issues impacting their practice, including the Commerce Act and revised health and safety legislation. It also publishes the Relative Value Guide which can be accessed on our website as a member only benefit.
Global connections Our international work aims to ensure New Zealand anaesthetists remain connected to the latest international research and developments in anaesthesia. The NZSA are privileged to be part of the Common Interest Group (CIG), the annual meeting of English speaking anaesthesia societies. This has built strong relationships with societies from Great Britain and Ireland, USA, Canada, South Africa and Australia. We share many common challenges and the ability to share information and learn from each other is invaluable.
International meetings attended by the President/Incoming President in 2016 (as well as our CEO) included:
- ANZCA and ASA Council Meetings
- CIG, Hong Kong
- ANZCA ASM, Auckland
- Combined Scientific Congress, MelbourneEducation and meetings One of our key roles is to facilitate and promote education and continuing professional development. There are too many to list them all but I would draw your attention to AQUA (Annual Queenstown Update in Anaesthesia with JAFA), and Part 0 in Auckland, in December. The NZSA is also a shareholder in each of the 17 Special Interest Groups (SIGs), which provides sub-specialty education such as cardiac, obstetrics, and regional anaesthesia. All SIGs have a New Zealand representative on their executive, which is a requirement in their constitution.Please note that free membership does not include the AIC journal, however trainees who wish to subscribe to the journal can do so for $315 (incl. GST) per annum.NZSA Overseas Aid Sub-Committee The NZSA Overseas Aid Sub-Committee (NZSA OAS) has been very active providing education and training to our Pacific neighbours. This year we allocated resources and our Lifebox funds to deliver Lifeboxes to Vietnam’s Binh Dinh province. Lifebox collection has now moved to Interplast but the NZSA continues to be part of Lifebox projects in Vietnam. The OAS provided a grant for Pacific scholars to attend the WFSA this year. Publications Our e-newsletter E-zine and our magazine New Zealand Anaesthesia have the latest NZSA news, profiles, events information, and showcase diverse topics of interest to the New Zealand anaesthesia community. We have recently revamped our publications with a more modern look, and are focused on making them more relevant and readable.
- AIC Journal – available as an App! Your full membership includes subscription to the Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Journal published by the NZSA, the Australian Society of Anaesthetists and the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society. The journal App has been very popular since its launch in 2014 – it’s free to all members to download from either the App Store or the Google Play store (depending on your device). Full instructions are on our website. Your journal password will be emailed to you but if you haven’t received it please contact the office.
- Website and database Our website is the go-to tool to keep you informed of developments in anaesthesia and the Society’s work. We continue to make improvements to our website and will soon embark on a project to enhance our website with simpler access, better navigation, and mobile app technology. The President’s Blog and Column have been popular features on our website.
- Prizes The NZSA supports research by consultants and trainees in New Zealand as well as achievements in the wider anaesthetic community with its prizes and awards, especially in the year when NZSA is involved in hosting an ASM. The next ASM will be held in 2017 in Rotorua. See details of the prizes here.
- Free trainee membership We strongly represent the interests of trainees and have two trainee representatives on our Executive Committee to keep us updated on trainee issues and concerns. We support training opportunities via the BWT Ritchie Awards, Part 3, the Annual Registers Meeting (ARM) and Part 0. We also provide NZSA trainee prizes at ASMs.
- The Society is strongly represented in several post-graduate educational groups co-ordinating and supporting post-graduate education throughout Australasia, including the New Zealand Anaesthesia Education Committee (NZAEC) and the Anaesthesia Continuing Education Coordinating Committee (ACE), which co-ordinates all postgraduate conferences in Australasia.
- Attendance at these meetings is funded by a mixture of CME and Society funds. We are also a member of the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA).
More membership benefits
Some other member benefits include:
* Automatic membership of the World Federation of the Societies of Anaesthesia
* Corporate rate on Air New Zealand Koru Club (10% below usual rate)
* Hotel discounts
* Access to a range of training and national discounts
The NZSA continues to explore additional member benefits.
The Society is only as strong as its membership base. Please encourage your non-member colleagues to join the NZSA so that we can serve you better.
Contact us We always welcome member feedback and input. If you would like to contact the President or office staff visit our contact page for details.