All posts by DrVida


SAVE THE DATE: June 13 + 14, 2020



– Current exam panel members will be present to respond to candidate questions

– all exam sections will be addressed: MCQ and SAQ technique (how to study for these sections and how to maximise performance – what will make a good answer better?); Medical viva structure; Anaesthesia viva performance improvement. 

Please pass on this information to all interested candidates.


Please email me so I can gauge the audience numbers + organise a venue.


Likely to be in Barton in the ACT.

Many thanks + have a studious day

ASA Practice Managers’ course Canberra

Psychiatrist Professor Cathy Owen with tips on the psychology (?Psychopathology) in the workplace

The ASA Practice Managers Conference is a full day of educational lectures targeted at Practice Managers in the medical industry.

It is an interactive day that covers professional and continuing medical education issues. Topics included: an update from our Economic Advisory Committee Chair ASA Services – how the ASA can help practice managers, the emergence of the business manager, Australian Privacy Principles, challenges facing Practice Managers, Private Health Insurance and more… 

It was a very successful day – see you all next year!

IMGS Boot camp Werribee

Victorian anaesthetist Dr Abhay Umranikar and colleagues hosted an excellent exam preparation bootcamp for International Medical Graduate Specialists at Werribee Mercy Hospital on 10 August.

The workshop was supported by Terri from the “learning precinct” at Werribee hospital and by regional anaesthetists there.

For many international specialists, it was their first credible encounter with the expectations and pace of viva exams. Current and past examiners explained the exam process, identified the best resources for exam preparation and gave real-time viva feedback to candidates.

It was unfortunate that the workshop could not be advertised to more IMGSs around the country.

The response from delegates was overwhelmingly positive. It looks like we’ll have to do something again for IMGSs!

SLAM conference 2019

Surgeons, lawyers anaesthetists and managers congregated in Beijing in May for the inaugural SLAM conference.

Topics included flexibility, time/ financial management and their challenges. The backdrop of censorship and control in China added to the depth of discussions.

A highlight of team-building was the Great Wall Marathon.

details at

SIMGs exam workshop 10 August

Specialist International Medical Graduates face special challenges qualifying in Australia.

Language, culture and expectations all increase the degree of difficulty for this group. A workshop is planned in August. Please see the contact details below if you are interested.

SYDNEY NSC 20-24 September 2019: full of trainee benefits

Sydney will host the ASA’s National Scientific meeting from the 20th to the 24th of September

The meeting boasts an all-day trainee program on Sunday (22nd) and a NEW ASA trainee audit/ survey prize session (with valuable rewards for the winners).

Well known exam preparation psychologist Patsy Tremayne will be a sponsored speaker at the meeting. There will be a trainee lunch, other lecture sessions and the Boot Camp interactive session on Saturday (21st).

Looking forward to seeing you there – register today!

20-24 September 2019


Only a few places left for FEBRUARY 9+10 – register here

Boot camp is on again in Canberra – same place, same great faculty.

Dr Rod Katz, Jo Katz and Bella Densworth will be there to support the weekend. See you there.

Everyone has been asking about the program. Boot Camp has been running for many years – as a weekend event and as a “lite” version at ASA National Scientific conferences. The program? It depends on the group – but an indicative one for this year appears below.

ASA PREVENTS MEDICARE CUTS – a great outcome for patients and their anaesthetists

Dr Peter Seal – the new ASA president wrote an excellent summary of results of the Society’s hard work during the MBS review for anaesthesia items (Dec 2018).

The short version is that there will essentially be very few changes for our patients – specifically very few cuts will be made to patient benefits. This is the result of an extraordinary amount of work by the ASA and its MBS Review Working Group – heartfelt thanks to them.

Here is Dr Seal’s message in full

The ASA, working with the Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt and the Federal Department of Health, has been successful in preventing the implementation of the alarming recommendations of the Anaesthesia Clinical Committee (ACC) of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce. 

Medicare cuts in anaesthesia rebates to Australian patients in more than one million services now will not occur in what is a wonderful result for fairness and common sense.

This is an enormously positive outcome for Australian patients, for Australian anaesthetists, and for Australian healthcare! This cannot be overstated!

Minister Hunt contacted me today to confirm that the in principle agreement between himself, the Department, and the ASA, finally has been signed off on. The 19 only agreed recommendations have been approved in the Federal Cabinet papers associated with the MYEFO (Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook) process. It has been locked in now, and will appear in the 2019 Federal Budget on April 2. It will commence on November 1, 2019. 

Importantly, an Anaesthesia Liaison Group (ALG) will be instigated early in 2019, and will be tasked with the ongoing stewardship of the Anaesthesia MBS, providing advice to the Department. This already has ministerial approval, and will be formalised under direction from the ASA and ANZCA. 

For practising anaesthetists, there will be essentially very few changes. For instance, the ‘blood gas item’ (22018) will be deleted. We have saved and vigorously resisted a whole range of changes to services involving invasive monitoring, endoscopy, cataract surgery, and electroconvulsive therapy, just to mention but a few. The ACC Report was considerably unfair to Australian patients, in which vulnerable groups would have borne a significantly increased financial burden. 

There are many people who have moved a mountain in order to enable this achievement. We commend Minister Hunt, and his Federal Department of Health officials. The support and advice of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), through its Immediate Past President Michael Gannon, and its current President Tony Bartone, along with their personnel, has been outstanding, influential and highly beneficial to the ASA, and Australian anaesthetists. ANZCA, and the academic institutions, particularly with their input through the ‘Anaesthesia Stakeholders Group’, have been strongly instrumental. David Story, David A Scott, Phillipa Hore, and Rod Mitchell have been invaluable. 

On behalf of the ASA, I wish to thank our members for their forbearance and patience over these long nearly 2 years. I am grateful to our management team ably led by Mark Carmichael.

The ASA, through its Board, Council and Anaesthesia MBS Review Working Group simply have been brilliant! Much praise is due to all of the following: David M Scott, Andrew Mulcahy, Alicia Dennis, Mark Sinclair, Antonio Grossi, Suzi Nou, Andrew Miller, Nicole Fairweather, Guy Christie-Taylor, David Borshoff, Jim Bradley, and all of the State and Territory Chairs. This truly has been a monumental team effort!

If the establishment of the Anaesthesia MBS in 2001 was a crowning accomplishment for the ASA, this successful Anaesthesia MBS Review, now that its has been agreed upon, is no less so.

We would like to wish all of the ASA family, and their loved ones, a safe and happy Christmas. We can move on into the New Year of 2019 with a mixture of gratitude, relief and keen anticipation. 

Australian anaesthesia now can continue being first-class. Australian anaesthetists simply are world’s best!


Some kind words from June 2018 attendees at Boot Camp….

The next Boot Camp is planned for February 2019.

I will also be conducting a workshop at the Adelaide National Scientific Congress in October

photo from Feb 2018

Dr. Vida,

Good day and a beautiful morning here in Hobart. Thank you so much for the lovely boot camp which was very useful for me. As an IMG with English not being my first language it is most often difficult for me to come up with the correct words and an excellent opening statement. What I saw and felt in the last two days was a thoroughly enriching experience and also the kindness and dedication from you to make sure that everyone should pass this exam. 

I am giving my exam in the first sitting next year and would love to attend this course again and pass. I want to make my family and teachers happy and proud of me. Thanks again and sorry for the long mail.


A boot camper Fan.

I hope they took out as much as I did. Best money I ever spent in my 10 years of anaesthetics


Dear Vida,

The Boot Camp course was a very motivating and useful course and the best way to make a weekend more productive. I really admire your interest and motivation in teaching and helping the registrars in one of the most stressful time of their training. I am sure organizing such a course is a time and energy-consuming activity and I really appreciate your kindness.

Please pass my regards to your husband and also all examiner/consultants who dedicated their time to us.

I hope to be able to send you an email with the good news and all my recalls this October! 😉

As we talked, I would like to ask if there would be a chance to take your time for a VIVA and have your feedback about my performance, please.

Warmest regards, MF