Perioperative Medicine Diploma FAQs

Everything you need to know about the proposed perioperative medicine diploma, including the reasons for its development; the likely course structure, duration, and eligibility requirements; and the timeframes.​

What type of qualification will it be?

The Perioperative Medicine Steering Committee, with membership from multiple colleges, has recommended the development of a one-year flexible competency-based diploma made up of six areas of learning that will be delivered in a hybrid model of e-learning, workshops and clinical experience. 

Why is the diploma being developed?

Nearly everyone involved in healthcare knows that that there could be better co-ordination of the surgical patient’s journey through the system which would:

  • Improve patient outcomes and minimise avoidable adverse outcomes.
  • Provide coordinated, proactive care of vulnerable surgical patients.
  • Provide consensus on what constitutes “best practice” for the wide variety of craft groups currently contributing to the care of patients going through surgery.
  • Provide a standardised framework to allow mapping of existing services (for example, orthogeriatrics) into comprehensive perioperative care that recognises established expertise and avoids “reinventing the wheel”.
  • Enable appropriate shared decision making in complex patients to avoid unnecessary, inappropriate or unwanted surgery.

What makes this diploma different from other qualifications currently available?

In 2020 ANZCA engaged external consultants to review the perioperative medicine education market. The review explored what people would like to achieve by doing a course in perioperative medicine and how that may differ from existing courses.

The research found there is demand for a perioperative medicine qualification that includes a practical learning experience and did not necessarily result in a tertiary qualification.  

Incorporating non-clinical components, such as communication, leadership and collaboration skills, was seen as desirable.  

The review found potential trainees were most likely to be one to three years post-fellowship who wanted a course that could be completed in 12 months or within a more flexible, longer timeframe. The course should have the potential for participants to upskill through completing individual units or modules. It should be multidisciplinary and inter-professional.

Why do we need another qualification?

Doesn’t existing anaesthesia/physician/intensive care training cover perioperative medicine?
While perioperative medicine figures as a component in existing training programs, a qualification will provide the opportunity to produce perioperative leaders who can demonstrate a deeper understanding of the perioperative landscape, and develop advanced leadership, teamwork and advocacy skills to coordinate care.

Perioperative practitioners holding a formal qualification will better underpin the broader establishment of perioperative medicine as an essential aspect of health care.

The qualification will consolidate much of the good practice that is already occurring but allow those with an interest in improving these skills to add aspects that may not be a focus of their primary speciality, e.g. delirium and frailty assessment for anaesthetists, or acute pain and resuscitation for geriatricians.

The qualification will establish a recognised standard of comprehensive practice in perioperative medicine.

Who can do the diploma?

It is anticipated that the diploma will be available to advanced trainees and fellows of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (including most fellows of the Faculty of Pain Medicine), the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, the College of Intensive Care Medicine, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the Royal Australian College of GPs, the Royal New Zealand College of GPs and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine. Eligibility and entry requirements are in development and are expected to be finalised in mid-2023.

Will recognition of prior learning be available?

Yes. Specific recognition of prior learning is being developed and will vary based on primary specialty and/or other qualifications in perioperative medicine.

Taken into consideration will be a candidate’s clinical work, formal qualifications (in addition to primary specialty), policy work (both within colleges and local health services), teaching and research.

There are already a number of leading figures in perioperative medicine throughout Australia and New Zealand who will qualify for the diploma to be decided by an exemption pathway committee (EPC). They will then play an important role as our thought leaders and supervisors.

How long will the diploma take?

The qualification will be a one-year diploma that can be completed over a maximum of three years.

How will the diploma be structured?

We’re taking a modular approach so that a candidate’s existing specialisation can be considered, and those undertaking the qualification can gain training in only specific aspects as necessary and/or build towards the whole qualification. There are six areas of study:

  1. Pre-operative assessment
  2. Pre-operative planning
  3. Optimisation.
  4. Intraoperative impacts on patient outcomes.
  5. Postoperative assessment and management
  6. Discharge planning and rehabilitation.

Each area of study includes access to an online module including suggested reading packages, resources, opportunities to network, as well as face-to-face workshops and opportunities to apply this knowledge in a clinical setting.

How will candidates be assessed?

Assessment will be through a combination of online tasks, case reports, case-based discussions, observation of clinical practice and a quality assurance project. Discussion about a capstone project or summative assessment is ongoing.

When will the qualification be available and how do I apply?

Enrolments will open in early 2023 for a late 2023 commencement. If you are interested in applying, please contact and we’ll keep you informed of developments.

What is the cost of the diploma?

The cost of the diploma is still being determined.

Will it attract CPD points? Will there be an ongoing CPD program?

The specific CPD standards and requirements for the perioperative medicine diploma are still being developed. It is expected these standards will form an essential part of the CPD requirements. 

The Medical Board of Australia has produced a new CPD standard which is scheduled to take effect on 1 January 2023. These changes are significant and will mean that specialists and other medical practitioners will be able to choose a “CPD home” relevant to their scope of practice.

What support will supervisors receive?

Training courses and/or webinars will be developed to explain the new requirements for diploma supervisors.

What are we asking of hospitals and government through our advocacy activities?

At this stage we will be raising awareness. We anticipate lobbying for funded perioperative medicine positions and eventually remuneration in private practice in the coming years.

If you have any questions not covered above, please contact us.

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Last updated 14:49 19.04.2022