All posts by DrVida

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

Mid-Year Final Exam Boot Camp June 2+3

A mid-year Canberra Boot Camp was held in June in response to requests from ASA anaesthesia trainees. Trainees came from all over Australia – and, indeed the world!
The program changes with requests from candidates. As usual, we concentrated on performance strategies, tips and scripts. Current and past examiners did some super myth-busting and explained the process and logistics of the of the exam. Candidates were directed to the valuable resource that is the final exam section of the college website for the details of the logistics of the exam. Other sections of the website should be used for study of college documents and other items that repeatedly come up in any section of the final exam.
Saturday was devoted to an exam overview and the medical vivas; Sunday was anaesthesia viva day. Everyone was delighted to learn that statistics were everywhere.
Boot Camp faculty Drs Luke Bromilow, Steve Davies, Nicola Meares, Carmel McInerney and Sally Wharton were the examiners that again kindly gave of their time to the weekend. There was a long interactive session dealing with every exam section. Advice focussed on strategy for maximising performance for each section.
Canberra’s John James Foundation again allowed the use of their Theaterette for our weekend. The excellent facility allows candidates to do more than just sit in a lecture theatre for a weekend. Dr Rod Katz provided logistic and administrative support – as well as an emergency taxi service when required! Thank you Rod.
Morning and afternoon breaks and lunchtimes were great opportunities for candidates to compare notes with their colleagues.
One of the aims of Boot Camp is to allow registrars to compare their own standards of preparation and exam-readiness with those of other candidates. It is also an opportunity to form relationships with other candidates (or future FANZCAs) and share exam study tips and resources – the real meaning of fellowship.
The secrets to improved congnition, better concentration, ability to problem-solve and maximise exam greatness were revealed and enjoyed by the group.
Next year’s Boot Camp dates are (tentatively) February 16+17, 2019.

Dr Steve Davies presenting on the pain of the vivas

Faculty: Drs Meares, Bromilow and McInerney and delegates at Boot Camp

How to be the better candidate!

Dr Sally Wharton explaining the Calm and Panic “destinations” for the anaesthesia vivas

Boot Camper and clubbing

Happy Campers from all over Australia