A soap box for a surgeon who has practiced in a wide range of environments including a Tertiary Referral Teaching Hospital, District Hospital, small Rural Hospital, Private Practice and Academic Practice. He loves being a surgeon.
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Saturday, September 19, 2015
The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons elections have commenced. Will it result in positive change?
Australasian College of Surgeons has been rocked by the scandal of there being
a culture of bullying, harassment and sexual discrimination in the Expert
Advisory Group’s Draft Report that was handed down just over a week ago.We have seen a formal apology from the
President of the RACS and a promise that there is going to be change.RACS policy and culture is determined by RACS
Council which is made up of elected Fellows.
the EAG Report is the ‘biggest ticket’ item that requires the attention of the
RACS Council. The final EAG Report and the recommendations that arise from it
will again place the RACS in the public spotlight.The RACS has been applauded for commissioning
the independent EAG Report which had every expectation of producing findings
that would be highly damaging to the reputation of the surgical profession. When the RACS announces
how it intends on tackling bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment for
the future could be a watershed moment in the credibility for the organization
Right now is an extremely important time for the RACS. Voting in the elections for
members of the RACS Council opened on Friday 18 September and will close on
Monday 5 October 2015.How the Fellows
of the RACS vote could impact on public confidence on how serious the
organization is in tackling bullying, discrimination and sexual
There are 38
candidates for the 8 positions that are up for grabs.The EAG Report should be the biggest ticket item on the agenda, but only 10 candidates have made mention of issues surrounding the findings of this report.That’s right, only 10
candidates thought the issue important enough to place in their electoral
statements.Of those 10 candidates, 5
are women.It gets very interesting when
we consider that there are only 6 candidates who are women. It is clear that
women consider the findings of the EAG Report to be of considerable importance
and arguably more so than their male counterparts.
Let’s also look
at the ethnicity of the candidates. Of
the 38 candidates, 34 are Caucasian, 2 Chinese and 2 from the subcontinent.Of further interest, surgeons who either
currently hold senior positions within the RACS or have done so in the very
recent past have nominated 22 of the 38 candidates.These nominating surgeons carry very
high profiles and are highly respected within the profession and their support of a
candidate does carry weight.If this
were not the case, candidates would not seek to have their names listed next to theirs
in their electoral statements.Alternatively, rather than these candidates seeking to have such
nominators, could it be a case of like minded candidates being the ones who get
the tap on the shoulder?
The average age
of the candidates is 56 years, ranging from 34 to 72 years. The majority of
candidates are clustered between 50 to 60 years of age. There are only 5
candidates who are less than 50 years of age. There is only one candidate who
is less than 40 years of age. How dare
this person run for RACS Council you might ask?
candidate is Dr Nikki Stamp who has everything working against her in having
any chance of being elected.Apart from
being female, she is also by far the youngest candidate and does not have the nomination support of the high profile RACS 'heavyweights'. She is however, passionate about equality in all aspects of healthcare and
determined to see the RACS make a difference with the issue of bullying, harassment
and sexual discrimination.She has her
own stories but right now there is a bigger missionat hand and in order to make a
difference, she needs to be elected to the RACS Council. She will disrupt the
RACS Council but for all the right reasons.
If you are Fellow
of the RACS and feel serious about change, do vote for Dr Nikki Stamp.If otherwise, tell surgeons that you do know, to
not just consider her candidature, but to vote for her.
The RACS needs to
change but the demographics of those who seek positions on the RACS Council
makes me nervous about what the future holds. _____________________________ For those interested, this previous piece "Action Must Speak Louder Than Words" which is about the EAG Report may be of interest