Regional wrap – September 2023

01 September 2023

Welcome to your quarterly digest of Australian regional news, events and courses, and committee updates.

Accreditation Officer vacancy

We are seeking Expressions of Interest from an ACT fellow to join the ANZCA ACT Regional Committee as the ACT Accreditation Officer. This fellow will also become a member of the ANZCA Training Accreditation Committee (TAC) and act as an accreditation resource and liaison person between the college and the regional committee.

Please submit your EOI to Dr Jennifer Hartley, Chair ACT Regional Committee at by 30 September 2023.

ACT Trainee update

The Canberra Hospital has recently completed its recruitment round for provisional fellowship in 2024. Fellowships are offered in hepatobiliary/upper GI anaesthesia, perioperative medicine and high-risk obstetrics. General fellowships are also available and can be tailored to your requirements. With the new acute services building scheduled for completion in 2024, there has never been a more exciting time to be a provisional fellow in the ACT. 

We are delighted to contribute to the newly formed Southern NSW Regional Training scheme. This exciting initiative will provide trainees high-level exposure to Wagga Wagga and Albury-Wodonga Hospitals, with specific SSUs being completed in either Westmead Hospital or The Canberra Hospital.


Farewell Professor Thomas Bruessel

A dinner to honour the retirement of Professor Thomas Bruessel will be held on Saturday 15 October 2023. For more details please contact the ACT office.

Professor Bruessel has been a highly valued member of the ANZCA ACT Regional Committee for many years and his presence both on the committee and at The Canberra Hospital will be greatly missed.

Upcoming events and courses

2023 ACT Art of Anaesthesia Meeting "Expanding our Horizons", National Convention Centre Canberra, 16-17 September 2023.
Evening Presentation with Dr Ken Harrison, Canberra
22 November 2023
Dr Harrison is a trauma specialist and anaesthetist at Westmead Hospital and also works for CareFlight. Ken has extensive experience in pre-hospital medicine both in Australia and internationally. Having worked as CareFlight's Director of Training he has a longstanding investment in trauma education and prevention, as well as a passion for discussion and understanding of human factors affecting clinical outcomes.

His presentation titled ‘Flying high and safely: Human factors and health care’ will be held at the Hotel Realm in Barton.

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Upcoming events

11 and 12 November 2023 - NSW ACE Spring Meeting, Coffs Harbour
25 November 2023 – NSW ACE Anatomy Workshop, University of Sydney

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Volunteer examiners needed for Queensland courses

Are you a Queensland fellow with an interest in education?
Our exam preparation courses can make a real difference to candidates' preparedness and performance. For many fellows, sharing their knowledge and experience with the next generation of specialists-in-training is one of the most meaningful ways to make a difference to the future of the profession. 

We would love to hear from local fellows who are available to assist with the delivery of the following practice viva sessions, as mock examiners:

Course  Date Session times Venue
Primary practice viva Wednesday 13 September;
Tuesday 19 September
7-9pm ANZCA Queensland office
Primary practice viva Thursday 21 September;
Tuesday 3 October
7-9pm Virtual
Primary viva weekend course Saturday 30 September and Sunday 1 October 8.30am-12.30pm;
ANZCA Queensland office
Final practice viva Wednesday 27 September;
Tuesday 17 October
7-9pm ANZCA Queensland office
Final practice viva Wednesday 1 November 7-9pm Virtual

Fellows can volunteer to assist at a single session or multiple sessions. Please state your availability when submitting your interest. Participation in these courses is claimable within the Knowledge and Skills category.

For more information, or to submit your interest, please email us.

Upcoming events and courses

Primary courses
Primary lecture program, series 2, 8 July-11 November 2023
Queensland primary practice viva, 13 and 19 September
Queensland primary practice viva (virtual), 21 September and 3 October
Queensland primary viva weekend course, 30 September-1 October
Queensland primary exam refresher course, 27 November-1 December

Final courses
Queensland final viva tips and techniques, 20 September
Queensland final practice viva, 27 September and 17 October
Queensland final practice viva (virtual), 1 November

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SA Primary Exam Refresher Course

The SA primary exam refresher course was held in the last week of June. Convenor, Dr Gary Tham, delivered an outstanding program to the trainees preparing for the August primary exam. We wish to thank our fabulous presenters and practice viva volunteers for their contribution. It is wonderful to have the trainees who passed the 2023.1 primary exam give back by providing vivas to the upcoming exam cohort.  

Convenor Dr Gary Tham (middle) with delegates

Dr Gary Tham with delegates and viva volunteers


SA/NT FPM CME – Pelvic and Sexual Pain

Dr. Tonia Mezzini, a sexual health physician, delivered a presentation on sexual pain at the SA/NT FPM CME evening. Sonia Scharfbillig, a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist and Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist, provided insights on physiotherapy management of pelvic pain. And Dr Susan Evans, a gynecologist, pain medicine physician, and PhD holder, specializing in improving the quality of life for girls and women with dysmenorrhea, chronic pelvic pain, and endometriosis, discussed the neuroimmune connections between pelvic visceral organs, including the bladder, and the central nervous system.

Ms Sonia Scharfbillig, Dr Tonia Mezzini, Dr Susan Evans and Dr Irina Hollington.

Faculty of Pain Medicine Prize

We were pleased to award the Faculty of Pain Medicine 2021 prize to Theodore Velkos for his essay "Perception of pain by the Aboriginal people of Australia: a case of vertebral ostemyelitis causing neuropathic pain."

SA/NT FPM Regional Committee Chair Dr Michelle Harris with Mr Theodore Velkos

2023 NT ACE Conference

The biennial NT ACE Conference, "Towards Zero" was held in Alice Springs in June 2023.

Guest speakers: Dr Elisabeth McLinton, Conference Convenor Dr Heidi Robertshaw, Dr Sophia Bermingham and Dr Liz Crowe

Dr Jacob Koshy and Barry Skipsey enjoying the welcome dinner

Rotational Supervisors and Education Officers visit to the Northern Territory

SA/NT Education Officers, Christine Hildyard and Rowan Ousley, and Rotational Supervisors, Chelsea Hicks and Amanda Brewster conducted visits to Alice Springs and Royal Darwin Hospitals. This valuable experience allowed them to enhance the assistance they offer to the centres and the accompanying trainees. The departments welcomed them warmly and appreciatively.

Dr Rowan Ousley, Dr Christine Hildyard, Dr Amanda Brewster and Dr Chelsea Hicks

RDH SOTS, EO’s and ROTS in Darwin

Dr Heidi Robertshaw, Dr Amanda Brewster, Dr Rowan Ousley, Dr Christine Hildyard and Dr Jacob Koshy at Alice Springs Hospital

Introduction to Anaesthesia

The midyear IAT course took place on August 19th. This event offered a valuable chance for incoming trainees to connect with key individuals who will play a role in their training, such as the education officer, rotational supervisors, and the part 1 convenor. Attendees were also given insights into effective exam study strategies, training options, and maintaining personal well-being. Thank you to Jarmila Sterbova and Amy Chapman from the SA/NT Trainee Committee for convening the day.

Education Officer Rowan Ousley with convenors Jarmila Sterbova and Amy Chapman, and Nick Fitzgerald, Sarah Jaensch, Donald Shivakkumar Praba Sekhar

Upcoming events and courses

CME events
SA FPM November evening meeting, "Assessment, informed decision-making, and the motivations behind people exploring voluntary assisted dying", North Adelaide, 13 November 2023.

Primary courses
SA primary exam refresher course, 29 January - 2 February 2024.

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News from the Chair

New ANZCA office
The fit-out of the new (inaugural) office in Hobart is progressing well. Office spaces, meeting room and a large multifunction space will be a feature and of great benefit to local and state-wide activities. An outdoor accessible space with a view of the city will be a boon in the warmer months.

We look forward to welcoming new office staff and fellows to the site in the near future.

Retirement of Regional Co-ordinator
Janette Papps has retired from her position as Tasmanian Regional Co-ordinator after tireless dedication for more than 10 years. Janette has provided incredible guidance, communication and consistency during her work with ANZCA in Tasmania and her corporate knowledge will be missed. Co-ordinating and supporting local CME events (particularly ASM’s) has been her pièce de résistance with many convenors reaping the benefits of her organisational skills and eye for detail. On behalf of the regional committee, and my personal heartfelt gratitude, I wish Janette the very best for her retirement and future.
Accreditation of 3 sites
All three accredited ANZCA training sites underwent accreditation in July-August. In a credit to local fellows, trainees and hospitals each site passed with overwhelmingly positive reviews.

CME progress
Concrete plans and program development for the ASM in March 2024 are well established, thanks to the dedicated team from around the state. Further ahead the CME sub-committee is investigating options for targeted emergency response events during the coming year(s) and looking forward to supporting the ASURA conference in Hobart during early 2025.

Flexible Approaches to Training in Extended Setting (FATES)
FATES, a federal government funded grant, is awaiting final approval between ANZCA and local health sites before activation. The planning of upgrading local faculty simulation training and some equipment support is well established, with promise of improved simulation-based education improvements for the whole state.

Upcoming events and courses

2024 Tasmanian ACE ASM & Trainee Day – SAVE THE DATE
Join us in Tasmania for a beautiful summer meeting next year. The Tasmanian Annual Scientific Meeting will be held on the 2-3 March 2024. 

We will be “Diving Off the Deep End” with lectures and workshops discovering pearls about human factors and crisis management, specialist anaesthesia for the non-specialist, and obstetric and paediatric management. A great opportunity to enjoy Tasmania’s beautiful scenery while fulfilling ANZCA’s mandatory CPD and emergency response requirements.

Our interstate keynote speakers include Associate Professor Stuart Marshall from Alfred Hospital, Dr Shaun Roberts from Princess Alexandra Hospital, Dr Alice Ma from Royal North Shore Hospital and Dr Ben Hallett from The Royal Children’s Hospital. We also have several local speakers who will impart their knowledge to us. Sunday’s workshop session will include CICO, major haemorrhage, human factors masterclass and thoracics masterclass. 

The meeting will be held at the Hotel Grand Chancellor which is downtown and easy to access all the great places to eat in Hobart.  Also join us to enjoy a drink and some nibbles while you soak in the beautiful water views at Waterline Brooke Street Pier Lounge Bar and Eatery. The annual Trainee Day will again be preceding the meeting on Friday 1 March, 2024 at Hadley’s Orient Hotel.

We expect registrations to be open in September.

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Upcoming events and courses

Trainee courses and events

  • Primary Practice Vivas 
    • 11-13 September 2023
    • 3 - 5 October 2023
  • Final Practice Vivas
    • 24 - 25 October 2023
    • 30 October - 1 November 2023

Primary Practice Vivas
4-6 sessions will be scheduled and held on various nights during the weeks leading up to each of the viva exams. Places are limited for individual sessions and Victorian trainees sitting the next exam will be contacted and offered allocations.

Victorian Registrars Scientific Meeting – save the date!
Friday 10 November 2023
Please consider submitting an abstract to present and/or join us to support your colleagues. A prize consisting of a $250 gift voucher and a plaque will be awarded in each category for the best presentation on the day. Be sure to join us for a social function at the end of the meeting and there will also be the option to join online via Zoom. You can register for the event here. More details to come!

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ACE WA Country Conference

This year’s WA Anaesthesia Continuing Education Country Conference was held from 9 to 11 June 2023 at the beautiful Cable Beach Resort in Broome, and was convened by Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. There were many delegates from interstate, taking advantage of the perfect Broome winter weather.

Sunset at Cable Beach, Broome, WA

The conference kicked off on the Friday evening with a Welcome to Country from a Yawuru Elder. It was great to see so many families and many of the children enthusiastically joining in. Music evoking Saltwater Country was provided by two of the famous Pigram brothers whilst delegates enjoyed excellent food by the pool.

Friday Night Dinner
The theme of the conference was “Inspiring Diversity in Anaesthesia”, with a mix of both scientific and some more non-technical presentations. The first lecture of the Conference was provided by Dr Sally Murray, Coordinator of the gender diversity service at Royal Perth Hospital. She delivered an excellent talk demystifying trans issues in health care. Dr Divya Sharma, a Consultant Anaesthetist and Director of Clinical Training at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, gave a practical framework for approaching conflict resolution, both professionally and outside of work, which was well received. Local Aboriginal Health Consultant David Pigram gave a fascinating talk on local Aboriginal health challenges in Broome.
The second session of the morning had a more scientific focus. Delegate feedback was very positive regarding the practical nature of these talks. Dr Brien Hennessy, Head of the Acute Pain Service at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, discussed non-opioid options in pain management. Dr Angela Palumbo, Consultant in Neuroanaesthesia, gave an excellent practical guide to emergency neuro-anaesthesia for the non-specialist. Dr Chris Mitchell, Consultant Anaesthetist at Sir Charles Gairdner, discussed environmental sustainability, reflecting on his experiences in bringing about a huge decrease in the use of nitrous oxide and desflurane.
Perhaps a little ambitiously, three talks were presented remotely via zoom (to keep the local Broome AV team on their toes). Dr Rita Agarwal, Professor of Anaesthesiology from Stanford in California, presented data on discrimination in medicine in America. It was great to see discussion between conference delegates and Rita around the work she had done in this area. Dr Ruchi Kabra, Consultant Interventional Neuroradiologist, presented the latest updates on mechanical thrombectomy live from Perth. Dr Adam Mossenson, Consultant Anaesthetist at St John of God Hospital Midland, gave a fascinating talk on delivering simulation training in low resource environments.
In the late afternoon, Dr Neville Gibbs skilfully chaired a panel on improving diversity in anaesthesia. Dr Angeline Lee spoke eloquently about the challenges facing carers in career progression. There was a lot of discussion between delegates and other panel members, Consultant Anaesthetist Dr Archana Shrivathsa and ANZCA President Dr Chris Cokis.

Panel discussion with Dr Neville Gibbs, Dr Archana Shrivathsa, Dr Angeline Lee and Dr Chris Cokis

Delegates enjoying the Saturday Evening dinner
The conference dinner on Saturday evening featured a highly competitive and amusing inaugural quiz night, hosted by local drag queen Jessica James. The food again was excellent. The Sunday morning started with a very peaceful early yoga session, beautifully located in the grass overlooking Cable Beach and facilitated by Dr Sally Murray.
The Sunday morning workshops, hosted by Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Consultants and Fellows had something for everyone with 4 separate streams. The CICO and “Broom’n Good Blocks” workshops both got excellent feedback. Dr Holger Holldack ran a high quality Awake Fibreoptic Intubation (AFOI) workshop with a state-of-the-art virtual reality trainer, transported from Perth. Dr Paige Bavich and Dr Russell Clarke ran an extremely well attended allergy workshop.

AFOI workshop
The conference convenors would like to thank all the presenters and facilitators for their time and effort in making this conference a success.
Dr Bridget Hogan and Dr Simon Hellings

2023 WA RATP Trainee Selections

In Western Australia, the WA Rotational Anaesthesia Training Program (RATP) undertakes its annual trainee selection process in late August each year.
Approximately 140 candidates applied to the WA RATP Selection Process. From their written submission, between 40 and 45 candidates are shortlisted and invited to progress to the next stage of the process.
Over three days at the end of August, candidates attend in person for their selection day, where a range of selection modalities are used to assess different aspects of the selection criteria. A combination of face-to-face interviews, a presentation and two simulation stations allow candidates to demonstrate their skills and their strengths in multiple ways. 
Results from the written submission, the interview, the presentation and the simulations all form part of the final selection scoring, with between 10 and 20 candidates successfully appointed to the WA RATP each year.
This process uses numerous Consultant Anaesthetists and Simulation Fellows each year. Our thanks go to all the individuals as well as the Departments who support the process each year.


The WA ANZCA Office hosted the written examinations for the Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Diploma on 10 August, for the Primary Exams on 15 August, and for the Final Exams on 5 September. We wish all the candidates the best of luck!

Past courses

Post Primary Evening
Dr Alan Ch’Ng, WA Deputy Education Officer and Consultant Anaesthetist at Fiona Stanley and Fremantle Hospitals Group, invited those who successfully passed their Primary Exam in the 2022.2 and 2023.1 sitting to attend an informal evening at the ANZCA Office in WA. The aim of the Post Primary Evening was to discuss how to prepare for Advanced Training, navigating the TPS and the requirements by ANZCA, as well as planning for the Provisional Fellowship year and beyond. The evening received very positive feedback from the attendees.

Pitstop for the Primary
The WA Trainee Committee organised a Pitstop for the Primary on Friday 23 June. At this interactive meeting, recent primary candidates share experiences, tips and strategies with those preparing for an ANZCA Primary Exam in 2024. It also provided a networking opportunity to help facilitate formation of study groups.

Upcoming courses

WA Final Exam Preparation Course
The WA Final Exam Preparation Course provides access to evening tutorials for up to 12 months prior to your final exam. Interactive, face-to-face, small group discussions about a wide range of topics are facilitated by specialists.
Registrations for the WA Final Exam Preparation Course for the Second Sitting in 2024 are now available online.

The introductory tutorial for this course will take place on Wednesday 20 September 2023.
Contact Ineke Krom, ANZCA WA Administrative Officer, if you have any questions about the course.

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Contact us

Last updated 09:56 6.09.2023