President's Report AGM

President’s Report 2017

Transition to a new secretariat. 
Although change is never easy a number of reasons prompted the move from AMA QLD to The Association Specialists (TAS).   This has been difficult from a corporate knowledge perspective but has led to much improved membership services, and financial reporting to maintain our compliance with government requirements.

Improvement in website functionality and content
Steady work on the website has improved the content and also allowed for the addition of some of the history of the ANZHNCS.  The executive did consider the option of a forum but the need for constant moderation and potential for mischief has kept this on hold currently.

Meetings in Auckland and Brisbane
We have had two meetings over the last two years.  Both quite different in structure but both successful from a numerical attendance and financial perspective.  The conference business is very competitive and the executive are conscious of the importance of the annual meeting to the society for both educational and networking reasons.  Fortunately we remain able to attract industry sponsorship but we need to remain vigilant and dynamic in a competitive space.

Transition to company limited by guarantee
This has required a huge amount of work behind the scenes in rewriting the constitution and multiple teleconferences with legal teams.  Fortunately, it all seems to have gone smoothly and is almost complete other than a few minor issues such as ABN’s and bank account details.  The main onus for increased reporting sits with the executive though I hope that won’t discourage members from nominating to join the executive committee. 

Bringing the IFHNOS meeting to Australia has been on the agenda for a number of years.  Australia is a world leader in head and neck cancer management and punches well above its weight in terms of quality care and research.  Three States put forward strong expressions of interest to host this meeting and after a rigorous process the exec have elected to put one bid forward to the ifhnos executive in September 2018.  Following a review of the bids the Executive have decided to promote the Brisbane exhibition and convention centre for the IFHNOS 2026 meeting.  The process will now become national as a truly co-ordinated approach will be necessary.  

World Head and Neck Cancer Day ball and other activities
This year saw an even larger number of individuals and institutions engaging in World head and neck cancer day to increase awareness and provide screening for at risk groups.  This included the charity ball held in Brisbane and thanks to all those local and interstate visitors who made the effort to attend and make the night a great success. 

Listing of Multidisciplinary Teams throughout Australia
The list is now up on the website and is annually refreshed by the secretariat.  However, if your MDT is not listed, or you have a change in details please contact Pat via

Board Performance review
One of the milestones in the 5 year strategic plan was a board performance review.   This is planned to be undertaken in Early February of 2018 with a single day in Sydney.  That will include corporate performance training for the board members and an executive meeting including plan review. 

Closer links to generic cancer societies specifically cancer council and influencing government policy
Although the society receives fairly regular requests to comment on guidelines and society members have contributed to setting up patient focussed websites such as “beyondfive” linkages to generic cancer organisations such as the cancer council remain superficial at best.  The barriers to closer ties are difficult to ascertain and I am not sure there is any way to foster these other than constantly reaching out.  Likewise providing expert opinion or policy guidance for government both state and federal would indicate a positive step in the maturity of the ANZHNCS but seems difficult to achieve. 

Membership stable but not significantly increasing – Membership is cheap.  Are we offering value?
Membership of the society is stable with a steady number of new members replacing those who drop off or fail to renew their membership.  Although the ANZHNCS provides a multidisciplinary home for clinicians interested in head and neck cancer management for most of us it is not our primary medical society.  Membership is relatively cheap so cost probably does not prohibit joining.  The benefits of increased membership are improved ability to advocate for services and other improvements in health care for head and neck cancer patients, and to allow us to achieve our stated aims. 

Martin Batstone
PRESIDENT (2015-2017)