CAREER MEDICAL OFFICERS BULLETIN Volume 1 Number 1 December 1996

The Inaugural Meeting

Novotel, Brighton-Le-Sands November 15, 1996.

From east and west we came, seeking enlightenment. From north and south we gathered over coffee, lunch, a substantial agenda and some serious talking to formulate a plan. At the end of the day we had formed an Association within the guidelines of the New South Wales Department of Fair Trading; we had a name, a clutch of office bearers, some allies, a clearer idea of what we're up against and a great deal of work to do.

In summary, Dr John Egan, having stuck up his hand and done all the preparatory work, was elected unopposed to the office of President. A bunch of people were volunteered for various offices, and their names and positions can be found on the CMOs Association Home Page.

Despite the widely disparate career paths and interests of the attendees, it emerged that we shared certain convictions, chiefly that self-determination and professional independence are important issues for the majority of CMO's. While the association is looking to make friends rather than enemies, it is not attempting to become a junior college, neither will we necessarily look to the colleges for guidance and instruction. (Except perhaps for one or two examples of what not to do - Ed.) Rather we need to promote the evolution of a more grass-roots approach to professional development and representation, applicable to adults with mortgages and families as much as to junior hospital staff at the beginning of their careers.

At the same time as we will be looking for ways to lift our game, and to have our skills and achievements recognised and accredited, such opportunites must be identified and offered in a supportive environment. Gateway exams of exculsion, hoop-hopping and ladder-pulling were found to be universally repugnant to the members. There must be an alternate, more practical approach to the continuation of medical education across a broad range of skills and interests and we need to take an active part in its evolution. Communication will be the key element in our sucess or failure. Watch this space!

To the end of supporting communication back to the members, the annual subscription was agreed upon as being affordable at $100, much of which will go to publications.

What else? Stephen Delprado spoke about the mind-bogglingly difficult isssues of accreditation and education. Martin Werry spoke about the origins of the CMO award, and Ian Cameron made a most welcome overture from the Rural Doctors Resource Network, itself dedicated to alternate pathways for doctors in rural practice. The afternoon session featured speakers from ASMOF and the AMA addressing some of the troubling industrial issues ahead of us. Submissions from all these speakers are featured elsewhere in this newsletter, as is a seperate report regarding the major agenda item, the Brennan Report into Non-Specialist Hospital Careers.

Clearly a task as substantial as the one ahead of usto form a flexible grassroots association of working physicians from all walks of the profession and all corners of the country is going to require a great deal of organisation and support. However, it was evident at the meeting that both the will and the desire exists within the CMO community. It was very exciting to realise that in fact there is a CMO community: under many different names and awards, in widely seperate locations and situations,all busily engaged in getting on with the job. In time to come we aim to have their choices supported and their skills respected by the wider medical community.