President’s Blog

Advocating for the future of our profession

26 April 2024
1.8 Min Read

By NZSAwebadmin
Advocating for the future of our professionMain Image

I have had a wonderful start to the year, engaging in thought-provoking kōrero with colleagues across the globe, as well as across the lunch table. Frequently, these conversations come back to future directions for the anaesthesia workforce. I firmly believe that ensuring safe standards of anaesthesia is not just a professional duty; it’s a cornerstone of delivering exceptional patient care. As anaesthesia specialists, we are entrusted with the critical task of delivering exceptional perioperative care. Whether conducting thorough pre-operative assessments, carefully monitoring patients during procedures, or providing comprehensive post-operative care, our commitment to safety is paramount. Our training from medical school through to the fantastic ANZCA training programme equips us with the specialist knowledge, tools, and skills to do this.

Despite the pivotal role anaesthesia plays in the perioperative process, there remains a concerning lack of visibility for our profession among the public and policymakers. It’s imperative that we advocate for greater recognition of the importance of anaesthesia in healthcare delivery. By raising awareness of our vital role in ensuring patient safety and positive surgical outcomes, we can ensure we have seats at tables where decisions are made. Increased visibility will not only enhance appreciation for the specialised skills and expertise of anaesthesia specialists but will also reinforce the need for future-proofing our specialist workforce in Aotearoa.

In Aotearoa, we currently face anaesthesia workforce shortages and retention issues. Looking to examples from overseas, such as the United Kingdom, we see alternative workforce solutions being implemented. Historically, when alternative provider solutions have been proposed in New Zealand, the NZSA has been a fierce and successful advocate for our profession. I look to those who stood in this role historically with admiration and gratitude. I am also firmly resolved to continue this legacy. At the New Zealand Society of Anaesthetists, we are committed to ensuring that our profession is protected and that patient safety is always upheld. Safeguarding the integrity of the anaesthesia profession requires a multi-faceted approach that addresses both internal and external challenges. Through advocacy, collaboration with healthcare stakeholders, and investment in workforce development, we all must aim to address workforce challenges and ensure a sustainable future for anaesthesia in Aotearoa.