Home / NZAGS Trainee Day & NZAGS Conference 2020
11 March 2020
On Tuesday March 10th, the NZAGS Executive Committee made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 ASM, due to be held on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 March. The training committee advise that they too will be cancelling the 27th March trainee day and dinner. With all of our trainees, members, health-related delegates, sponsors, partners and other guests, we were very much looking forward to the meeting to network and share the latest knowledge and research in trauma and general surgery.
As you no doubt all know, over the last couple of weeks Australasia has been preparing for the increasing likelihood of a Covid-19 outbreak. I would like to share with you some of the information and thinking that led the Executive Committee to this decision.
Covid-19 had been identified as a threat to our meeting and the potential courses of action had been discussed regularly in the weeks leading up to the event. The extent of the potential threat is unclear and had evolved globally and nationally in the health care arena. While the Executive feel the risk of Covid-19 being present at our conference is very low, it remains a risk.
The Executive have identified the following recent developments:
In the event of COVID-19 being identified in an attendee at the ASM, the potential consequence may be that a number of attendees are required to self-isolate for 14 days. This cohort would include almost all of the general surgery trainees, and a quarter of New Zealand consultant general surgeons. The impact on the delivery of general surgery services throughout New Zealand would be significant.
All risks were considered including community health, personal risk to health care workers and other individuals involved in the meeting. The safety of every individual was paramount in reaching the decision. As health care professionals the Executive Committee felt we have a higher level of responsibility to the community and obligation to promote a culture of infection prevention.
After a most challenging Executive Committee meeting on 10th March the resolution was passed. This decision was not, made lightly.
The ASM is the most significant event on the NZAGS calendar. This is primarily due to the hard work of the organising committee and I am gutted for them as their exceptional talents in this space have gone unrecognised this year. We hope to hold the same conference and programme in New Plymouth in either 2021 or 2022 so that all their effort is not wasted.
The Executive Committee would like to acknowledge the hard work of the conveners: Nigel Henderson, Glenn Farrant, and Falah El-Haddawi. The program was excellent, and it is a great disappointment to all that the conference has been cancelled. We are looking into either the possibility of re-scheduling the conference to another year, or providing content on our website. We would also like to thank the understanding of both our sponsors and all those who were scheduled to present.
A cancellation of the ASM has never occurred before. The NZAGS Executive Committee, training committee, and staff will be working hard in the next few days to work through and address the consequences. I thank those of you directly affected by this decision for being patient and understanding. Further communication will follow regarding refunds for registration, AGM, and other consequences.
Julian Speight (FRACS)