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The Quarterly


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The Quarterly 2011


A new year; a new beginning.

In February I sat in on some accelerated pathway (AP) entry interviews in New Zealand. It was an opportunity for me to meet with senior New Zealand doctors in management and to listen to their discussions with the AP panel members. I found it valuable to hear about the NZ context which frames and impacts decision making about hospital operations and health services strategy. I am confident the College will soon welcome several new NZ doctors into the accelerated pathway training program.

Last year the RACMA Board articulated the Strategic Plan 2009-2012 and you can see a copy of this on the College web site. The Board has set improving and developing services along with increased activity and membership succession as key priorities. This brings challenges for us all. Whereas four years ago preparation for fellowship offered one training program, today we have training programs for 'standard pathway' and 'accelerated pathway' candidates. These programs are evolving to reflect the entry competency of young medical managers and those very experienced senior medical managers who are deciding to formalize their management qualifications and join the College. The development of these pathways, while having a common and equivalent end point in the oral examination, is stimulating much discussion among some groups of Fellows about what it means to be medical administrators, how to 'protect' standards and how the College curriculum translates into learning and assessment processes. Evaluation of prior learning is key amongst these discussions about competency.

The last six months has seen the successful passage to fellowship of higher numbers of candidates. While this is significant for the College and for health services management generally, such growth draws heavily on College resources - Fellows and staff. Our current training model is heavily dependent on people and face to face activity, the logistics of which is stretching us. This is something we need to address and I am happy to hear your expert views about sustaining growth efficiently.

This year we launch a new training program for the award of a qualification leading to membership as an AFRACMA. The training program comes with an open invitation to all existing AFRACMA to participate in the training - rewarded with CPD points as well!

There are discussions about research also. I believe it is time for the College to actively support research about the specialty of medical administration; research that builds upon the anecdotal and descriptive; research that is rigorous and defensible, findings that are generalisable and which builds the evidence base about the contribution of medical management and doctors trained in the specialty. Such evidence bases are essential for all medical specialties. This research process poses another challenge for the College and its Fellows: the importance of such research is not denied. There is undeniably a research gap in this field. I am interested in your ideas and your research questions.

Advocacy is another area for development. We are living with much change in the health system and many of you have strong views about what should be done. How strong a 'voice' does the College want to develop and on which issues should we focus? Perhaps in 2011 this voice will strengthen.

I wish you all a big 2011 wherever you are and as always we welcome your engagement with RACMA.

Dr Karen Owen
Chief Executive

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