President's Annual Report

President’s Annual Report 2022

23 October 2022
6.93 Min Read

By NZSAwebadmin
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Ngā mihi nui kia koutou katoa,

To begin I would like to acknowledge those who continued to front our Covid response and the support we have seen amongst colleagues during challenging circumstances. Particularly during the peak of the Omicron waves putting much pressure on an already stretched system.

It has been pleasing to see our membership numbers continue to grow. At a time when Associations may be struggling to find their relevance a growing membership strengthens our voice and allows us to build on our offerings across advocacy, education and community. The Executive Committee are putting together the final touches on a new Strategic Plan for the NZSA looking towards the next four years (2023-2027). This new plan includes the continuation of much of what you know and value from the NZSA alongside some exciting new projects.

Our Exec Committee have been warmly welcomed by anaesthesia departments in Christchurch and Greymouth and will shortly be visiting Hawke’s Bay. These visits continue to prove invaluable in both generating new membership and facilitating conversations on where we can add further value for members in the region.

Recently the NZSA extended our membership to include Specialist Pain Medicine Physicians and I welcome our newest members to our community.

This report covers a comprehensive summary of the year that has been. However, there is always more, and I encourage members to remain connected through NZSA’s channels including the Magazine, monthly e-zine, website and social media accounts.

Together we are a strong collective voice, representing our specialty in a considered and evidence first approach. Key advocacy over the past year has focussed on the Health and Disability Review, healthcare wellbeing, climate change and sustainable healthcare and Pharmac medical devices procurement.

A significant change for 2022 has been the Health and Disability Reforms. We bid farewell to DHBs in July as we moved to the centrally coordinated bodies of Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora. In December last year NZSA provided comprehensive feedback to the Government on the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill seeking clarity on some of its key areas.

The NZSA also submitted feedback on the Productivity Commission’s report Immigration – Fit for the Future making comment for the consideration for the impact immigration settings may have on the health system and the need for robust workforce supply planning and investment.

From an environmental perspective the NZSA submitted input into the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan and their proposal for a new national waste strategy. In addition, we co-signed a letter from several NGO healthcare organisations outlining suggested steps to see New Zealand take the lead in climate change response at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).

Copies of all submissions are available on the NZSA website.

The executive committee have heard from the Planned Care Taskforce ahead of the release of their report, from PHARMAC in relation to medical devices procurement and discussed the background to CPD changes and review with ANZCA. We continue to keep our members updated on these matters through our website, e-zine and magazine.

Our Private Practice network continues to grow. As the only representative body for members working in this sector, we continuously discuss with the network how NZSA can best provide a collective voice for matters of their greatest concern.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi
One of our key goals was to develop a plan to integrate the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi into the NZSA and its activities. We have begun this process with the development of the NZSA Te Tiriti o Waitangi Policy Statement. The 2022-2024 NZSA Strategic Plan builds on this work as we continue to implement our commitment to providing a bicultural lens and equitable health outcomes.

Thank you to all our networks: PANNZ (paediatrics), NOA (obstetrics), airway leads, in patient pain, private practice, and the Environmental and Sustainability Network.

These networks continue to prove an invaluable part of the NZSA offering. The use of Basecamp has positively facilitated discussion and support across the motu, no matter your workplace, background or experience.

Global Health Committee
The Global Health Committee (GHC) were able to support local and regional Anaesthesia SMOs and trainees in the Pacific to attend the Pacific Society of Anaesthetists (PSA) meeting through the organisation of locum cover from 15 volunteers travelling from NZ and Australia.

Thanks to the generous support of NZSA members the PACT (Pacific Anaesthesia Collaborative Training) fund has been able to support its first fellow, Dr Cecilia Bartley, to complete her MMed training in 2023. Cecilia will be followed by Samoan trainee, Dr Esjae Sesega, further building Anaesthesia capacity within Samoa. Advocacy by members of the GHC and PACT resulted in the Ralph and Eve Seeley Charitable Trust offering their support to Anaesthesia Training in the Pacific in 2021. This has enabled the sponsorship for Fijian Trainee, Dr Sweta Mudaliar, to complete the full Masters programme. The trust has indicated they wish to remain engaged in supporting this type of training in the future.

During the PSA Meeting NZSA and GHC gifted all Pacific Trainees with the Oxford Handbook of Anaesthesia. It was evident in their gratitude just how beneficial these small resources will be.

International Partnerships
CEO Michele Thomas and I were privileged to also attend the PSA meeting. It was valuable to connect with our colleagues in the Pacific over the week and to discuss how more support can be given to the PSA through our ongoing partnership.

Our partnership with the WFSA strengthens further with NZSA member, Professor Wayne Morriss taking on their Presidency role earlier in 2022. We have been fortunate to hear from Wayne specifically on the work of WFSA.

Since my last report we have virtually hosted the 2021 ANZCA NZNC/ NZATS/ NZSA Aotearoa NZ Anaesthesia ASM in Christchurch and the 2022 AQUA in Queenstown. The latter, being the first in-person event for some time, proved just how valuable these in person interactions are for maintaining our relationships with those we don’t see regularly.

At the time of writing we are rapidly approaching the ASA/NZSA Combined Scientific Congress. The organising committee should be commended for their staying power following a two-year delay. They have not disappointed in delivering an exceptional scientific programme and exciting social calendar.

On the horizon is the 2023 ANZCA NZNC/NZATS/NZSA Aotearoa NZ Anaesthesia ASM to be held in Ōtepoti Dunedin during November. Like the CSC this too will be a hybrid event. Whilst the introduction of virtual attendance may initially have mitigated the risks of social gatherings, we employ its presence today to widen accessibility to these events.

To complement our educational events the NZSA have launched a podcast and webinar series. These have been well received to date and we hope to make more available to our members on a regular basis covering a range of topics with a variety of speakers that will appeal to the various specialties and career stages of our members.

NZSA projects
The development of a new strategic plan aligns our focus for the next four years. The NZSA has many projects on the horizon for the year ahead, including increasing bi-cultural approaches, increasing patient and member resources, a regular schedule of webinars and podcasts, to further promote the wellbeing of our members, advocate for the profession through the health and disability reforms, seek opportunities to diversify and increase revenue and support opportunities to promote environmentally sustainable practices.

Closing remarks
As I complete my term as the NZSA President I extend a warm thank you to my fellow Executive Committee members, the NZSA staff team and to you, our members, for the ongoing support. It has been an interesting two years to say the least and none of what we have achieved would have been possible without you.

The support of our members makes it possible for the NZSA to move from strength to strength and allows us to continue to advance the specialty of Anaesthesia and pain care to improve the health outcomes for all in Aotearoa. In whatever form you may have contributed, be it volunteering time, providing feedback or attending an event it is these interactions that allow the NZSA to continue to best serve our members and promote high quality patient care and safety.

I also wish to acknowledge the support of the many stakeholders and partnership organisations who work alongside the NZSA each year. They too have seen tough times and it is heartening to see these relationships continue.

I look forward to connecting with many of you at the Combined Scientific Congress.

Ngā mihi,
Sheila Hart