Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (December 2006)|
||This date:January 2010 needs additional citations for verification. (January 2010)|
RACS was formed in 1927. Its major roles are in training surgeons, continuing education, and setting standards for surgical practice. The members of the College fall into two categories: Trainees (doctors training to be surgeons) and Fellows, (who possess the fellowship of the College - FRACS). Currently there are over 7,100 members of whom 1,650 are trainees.
The College is a non-government, not-for-profit body and this independence has led to conflict with government. It is also independent of universities. The College is funded through fees paid by Trainees and Fellows.
The College trains in nine surgical specialty areas:
- Cardiothoracic surgery
- General surgery
- Orthopaedic surgery
- Otolaryngology head and neck surgery
- Paediatric surgery
- Plastic and reconstructive surgery
- Vascular surgery
Some surgical specialties receive their training from separate colleges, these include: ophthalmic surgeons who are examined by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO), oral and maxillofacial surgeons who are examined by the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons (RACDS), and obstetric and gynecological surgeons who are examined by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG).
The major activities of the College are surgical training and examination, setting standards for surgical practice, continuing professional development and government and media relations. The Surgical Education and Training (SET) program has improved the efficiency of surgical education and training through early selection into specialty training and streamlining training.
Trainees are selected directly into one of the nine specialty training programs. The earliest point at which application can be made for the first year of training (SET1) is during Postgraduate Year 2 (PGY2) with entry for successful trainees in Postgraduate Year 3 (PGY3).
Trainees who have successfully completed SET1 training and assessment requirements, move into SET2 without further selection. In most specialties, SET1 trainees who have not successfully completed the examination may be permitted by the specialty Board to progress to SET2, provided that other training requirements have been met.
Trainees in SET1 are appointed by the employing hospital at the level which the hospital deems appropriate. The trainees will perform clinical rotations in units, designated by the specialty in which they are selected, as providing career aligned requirements. During this period there is an increased focus on workplace competency assessment.
Role in surgical education in Australia 
The report, says that the shortage of specialists and long waiting lists for elective surgery are linked to surgeons' high salaries and their tight control on entry into the profession. In the 1990s there was some controversy over the control of surgery by the RACS, following the publication of a report into Australian surgical workforce. Amongst other things, the report claimed that there were excessively tight controls exercised by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons on the supply of surgeons. The report was disputed strenuously by the College.
International development 
The RACS International Development Program provides a wide range of initiatives to deliver specialist health services and develop surgical capacity in Asia and the Pacific. The Program is led by teams of dedicated medical and surgical volunteers who donate their time and services to perform life changing operations.
Since 1994, the RACS International Development Program has worked with the Australian Government’s overseas aid program, AusAID, to deliver specialist surgical services and training to East Timor, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands. The RACS International Development Program also provides support to Project China and Fellows of the College are involved in a number of other international aid projects in the tertiary health sector.
The altruism of Fellows extends to include membership of committees which provide support and guidance to the RACS International Development Program. The foundation of the RACS International Development Program is the team of dedicated medical and surgical volunteers who donate their time and services to perform life changing operations.
The RACS International Development Program provides scholarships for surgeons from developing countries in Asia and the Pacific.
- A Cutting Edge: Australia's Surgical Workforce 1994
- A Cutting Edge: Australia's Surgical Workforce 1994, Peter Baume, commissioned by the Australian federal health minister for human services and health, Dr Carmen Lawrence, in June 1993
- British Medical Journal, 4 March 1995, letter from Thomas Hugh