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Surgeons gather in Brisbane

Surgeons gather in Brisbane for RACS Annual Scientific Congress

Saturday 30 April, 2016

Surgeons from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) will next week join their counterparts of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre for a series of workshops, discussions, plenaries and masterclasses at the 85th RACS Annual Scientific Congress.

The congress brings together more than 1500 delegates and some of the country’s leading medical and surgical minds, this year focusing on the theme of surgery, technology and communication.

Running from 3 to 6 May, the ASC’s theme will be “Surgery, Technology and Communication”. Plenary sessions following this topic over the four days will examine:

New Technology – Where Are We At And How Far Can We Go
Data Management – How Does It Affect Surgery And Patient Care
Innovation – Learning From The Next Generation
Technology And The Trainee.
Prominent highlights of the congress program this year include sessions on the RACS campaign ‘Building Respect, Improving Patient Safety’. These include the President’s Lecture from the 2016 Australian of the Year Lieutenant David Morrison talking on ‘Driving Cultural Change – From the Head to the Heart’.

Delivering this year’s Syme Oration will be the President of invited guests, the Royal College of Surgeons of England, Miss Clare Marx on ‘Communicating through attitude, words and deeds’.

Delegates will also hear from US guest speaker, Professor Gerald Hickson, founder of the Vanderbilt Center for Patient and Professional Advocacy, and whose Vanderbilt Principles are a core part of the RACS Action Plan on discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment, released late last year.

Professor Gerald Hickson is a professor of paediatrics and assistant vice chancellor for health affairs, senior vice president for quality, patient safety and risk prevention, associate dean for faculty affairs, and Joseph C. Ross chair of medical education and administration at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Professor Hickson will run workshops as well as speaking to the topics of ‘Collaboration to build respect and improve patient safety’ as well as the US perspective on ‘Performance Management vs Bullying and how do you know the difference?’

For RACS President, Professor David Watters, the ASC is the biggest event on the College calender.

"We will be mounting a campaign to build respect, encourage collaboration, make the surgical workplace safer and so improve patient safety and the well being of health workers, and the ASC provides a great platform to inform Fellows and Trainees on these issues,” Professor Watters said.

“Communication is a core RACS competency and a critical theme of this congress. We need to communicate with our patients and their families, with colleagues, with all members of the health care team.”

“Communication is more than words; it is also affected by timing, tone and volume. How we behave in the workplace affects what we say about ourselves, how our message is understood, and even what message is understood.”

The ASC provisional program is available online at


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