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Chairs Report


Winter Greetings to all
Our recent State Committee Elections were a resounding failure with no applicants for the four vacant positions.  Given that we have over 480 active fellows in the state, as Ross Lyon would say - this is not ideal.  A common criticism voiced at a recent think tank was that no-one actually knows what being on the State Committee involves.  Allow me to enlighten you. The committee consists of elected fellows and where required, co-opted members.  The aims to have a broad representation from all the craft groups. Meetings are held bi-monthly ie 6 per year, at RACS WA in Perth (ie no Interstate travel required).  The role of the committee is to advocate for surgeons in WA, bringing concerns from surgeons throughout the state to RACS head office, the Health Department and the Health Minister. The committee also plays a vital role in Fellowship engagement and advocacy.
Some of the main achievements of the committee in recent years have been:
-  Advocacy for a central body to oversee service registrar appointments, resulting in the formation of the SSREAC
- Implementation of a statewide complication notification system between public and private hospitals to enable robust audit processes
- Active lobbying of the government to pass data sharing legislation to enable WA surgeons to participate in national registries
- Social functions
- Younger fellows evenings and conference
- RACSTA cocktail night
- Women in Surgery function
- Surgeons Ball
- Tristate ASM, shared with NT and SA
If you have an interest in surgery in general and would like to be involved,  I would strongly ask you to consider joining the State Committee.  In these times where diversity of opinion is key, no-one should feel that they are too junior or too specialised to contribute.  A constant refrain from fellows is that they don't know what the College does for them. I would remind you that YOU are the College and getting involved in it is both rewarding and an excellent way to diversify the day to day experience of surgery and to see first hand what the College does.
If you would like to know more, please don't hesitate to contact myself, any of the Committee members below or the RACS WA office directly.
As this is my last newsletter as Chair, I would like to wish the incoming Chair, Mary Theophilus all the best for the next two years.  It has been my privilege to serve for the last two years. My eternal gratitude goes to Angela D'Castro, Stephanie Gillies and Maria Rechichi at RACS WA who work tirelessly to ensure the smooth running of our local division. I know I could not have performed this role without their guidance and assistance.
Anyway, enough of my yakking,
See you in theatre
Steve Rodrigues


WA Regional Committee Members

1 July 2019 - 30 June 2020


Elected Members
Dr Mary Theophilus (Chair)                                General Surgery
Mr Paul Bumbak (Deputy Chair)                        Otolaryngology / YF Rep
Mr Stephen Rodrigues (Immediate Past Chair)   Otolaryngology
Mr Stephen Honeybul                                          Neurosurgery
Mr Peter Bray                                                      Vascular Surgery
Mr Richard Martin                                               General Surgery
Mr Ming Yew                                                       General Surgery
Co-opted Members
Mr James Aitken                                                WAASM Clinical Director
Mr Greg Janes                                                    WA Chair AOA, Orthopaedics
Dr Wysun Wong                                                 Plastic & Reconstructive Rep
Dr Elizabeth Whan                                             Paediatric Surgery Representative
Dr Isaac Thyer                                                    Urology Representative
Dr Jacinta Cover                                                Rural Representative
Dr Aroosha Safari                                              RACSTA Representative
Ex-Officio RACS Councillors
Prof. David Fletcher                                          General Surgery
Dr Greg Witherow                                             Orthopaedics


friday 23 august 2019


Support ADFA by attending the WA Surgeons Ball 2019.

The WA Surgeons Ball is just around the corner and we have had a great response to date from our fellows with over 180 tickets already sold. For those still thinking of attending, RACS WA is preparing to take you on a unique winter experience where elegant & mysterious meets spectacular, at the upcoming RACS WA Surgeons Ball 2019, to be held on Friday 23 August 2019 at Crown Towers.

Providing a rare opportunity for Fellows from across all surgical specialties to come together in a relaxed social setting, the WA Surgeons Ball also provides an opportunity for funds to be raised for a worthwhile cause, with proceeds raised from this year’s event going to Australian Doctors for Africa, a worthy global medical project founded by one of our local WA Orthopaedic Surgeons, Mr Graham Forward. Funds will be raised specifically for the Somaliland Specialist Training Program.
The previous WA Surgeons Ball in 2017, held in support of the Foundation for Surgery, raised a significant amount of funds to send surgeons to Papua New Guinea for Neurosurgery support and surgeons to Timor for an ENT Support Program.

So, if you are after a truly enjoyable evening with a few surprises along the way, then I encourage you to join us. The chance to win some fabulous prizes is also available with an extensive offering from our generous prize partners.

My only tip is to book early, as this event is proving to be an extremely popular fixture, and tickets are selling fast. Don’t forget to get a table of 10 together to receive a discounted rate!  Purchase Tickets 
Once again we have some fabulous auction items for the night.

Rohan Jewellers has generously donated, a handcrafted 18ct white and rose gold pendant, featuring an 11.2mm Australian South Sea Pearl, white diamond detail and a round brilliant cut pink diamond set in a pear shape setting.

Paintings from award winning contemporary artist Christine Hingston.

Winters Morning and Low Tide Cossack have been individually selected for auction at the Surgeons Ball 2019.  Take this amazing opportunity to acquire one or both of these beautiful paintings for your home or office is only a few months away.  Buy your ball tickets today and be one step closer to brightening your home or office for many years to come. 



Platinum Sponsor Profile 

surgeons Ball


RACS WA would like to acknowledge our Platinum Sponsors for their generous support of the 2019 Surgeons Ball.

Commonwealth Private provides personalised banking and advisory services to Australia’s high-net-worth individuals and their families. We typically work with clients who have a household income in excess of $450k p.a. or the intent to invest or borrow at least $2.5 million or more, and adopt a team-based approach to providing relationship-managed banking and wealth creation opportunities. We believe ‘Success is Personal’, and banking should be too. We work with the wider Commonwealth Bank Group to bring the best of the Bank to every client, and are committed to delivering an extraordinary end-to-end experience of working with us.
Our purpose is to improve the financial wellbeing of our customers and communities across generations, and as a platinum sponsor of the WA Surgeons Ball, we’re proud to support Australian Doctors for Africa and the life-changing work they complete in our global community.  


Port Lincoln Hotel, Port Lincoln, South Australia

Online registration is now available at ASM 2019.  Robots in Surgery-Tsunami or just the next wave?

Robots and other computer-aided technologies are rapidly invading our operating theatres, and threaten to displace traditional 'human' techniques in many surgical disciplines. Join us in the seafood capital of Australia, Pt. Lincoln, as we explore the impact of these new technologies on surgery as we know it- or should that be 'as we knew it'?

The conference dinner on the Friday evening will be held the idyllic setting of Peter Teakle's vineyard / restaurant The Line & Label, a truly memorable experience as we host the Annual Anstey Giles Lecture delivered by Dr Richard (Harry) Harris OAM, SC, South Australian Anaesthetist and cave diver, who was instrumental in the recent rescue of the Thai Wild Boar soccer team.

Make your plans now to meet up with colleagues from South Australia, Western Australia and Northern Territory and be prepared to learn, laugh, relax and enjoy the SA,WA,NT tri-state ASM!

For more information please contact the RACS SA Regional Office on 08 8239 1000, or view the provisional program.


Non-Technical Skills for Surgeons (NOTSS)

Friday 9 august 2019


Explore behaviour and assessment tools to enhance performance in the operating theatre, and the role of situational awareness, communication, decision making and leadership in safer operative surgery.

Location: Perth, WA
Date: Friday 9 August 2019
Time: 9:00am – 4:00pm

For more information please call +61 3 9276 7440 or email




The WAASM Case of the Month

The WAASM Case of the Month continues to be distributed by email to all WA surgeons in the first week of each month, and has covered a range of specialties since its inception in September 2018. We welcome your comments and suggestions in relation to both the cases presented and future inclusions. 

Hospital Reports
The 2019 Hospital Reports are due for release to both public and private hospitals, via Health Service Providers and Hospital Executives respectively, by the end of June. These reports provide a comparative analysis of WAASM cases with like state and national hospitals from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare peer group classification, and also reflect  individual hospital performance relating to potentially preventable clinical management issues. The reports are released annually to hospitals that have three or more operating surgeons and where there have been five or more deaths where the audit process has been completed.

The WAASM 2019 Case Note Review Booklet

The WAASM 2019 Case Note Review Booklet, with an accompanying WAASM newsletter, is scheduled for distribution by 30 September. It will be emailed directly to all WA surgeons so please keep an eye out for this.

The WAASM ‘Peer Review Feedback Evaluation Form’ 
Since commencing use in February 2018, 52 completed Peer Review Feedback Evaluation Forms have been returned to the WAASM. These forms accompany all feedback letters where assessors identify a clinical management issue. Of the returned forms, 36.5% (19/52) were in response to first-line assessments, and 63.5% (33/52) were in response to second-line assessments. A total of 75.0% (39/52) respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the peer review was fair, and 71.2% (37/52) agreed or strongly agreed that the peer review was informative.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to complete these forms and provide the WAASM with this important feedback.


Scholarships Available

Closing 4 August 2019


RACS has extended the application deadline for several scholarships until 4 August 2019. These scholarships offer a number of benefits including financial assistance with research, education and travel.
Below is a list of the scholarships for which applications have been extended:
John Mitchell Crouch Fellowship (value: $150,000) open to RACS Fellows
John Buckingham Travelling Scholarship (value: $4,000) open to Trainees to travel to USA
Anwar & Myrtha Girgis IMG Scholarship (value: $10,000) open to IMGs

Click on the links above for more information.




Queen's Birthday Honours List:

Dr Robert Larbalestier, Officer (AO) in the General Division
For distinguished service to medicine, particularly to cardiothoracic surgery and transplantation, and to professional medical societies.

Congratulations to the following Trainees who have recently passed their Fellowship Exams:

General Surgery
Dr Kim Bade
Dr Abdallah Abdelhamid Elsabagh
Dr Simon Parys
Dr Ruben Rajan
Dr Yeow Chun Tee

Dr Hari Ramakonar
Dr Snigdha Saha

Orthopaedic Surgery
Dr Samuel Duff
Dr Abhijeet Ghoshal
Dr David Graham
Dr Douglas Kingwell
Dr James Larkin
Dr Jean-Louis Papineau
Dr Piet Rogers

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Dr Matthew Jones
Dr Ranjit Kunchur

Dr Steve McCombie

wa_chair_square.jpg Mr Stephen Rodrigues
Western Australian State Chair
Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
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