Celebrating the Art of Surgery – In a Time of Disruption

It was a great disappointment to everyone when we needed to cancel the ASC in 2020. This was just one of very many changes we have all had to adapt to and cope with. Unprecedented times, however, called for unprecedented measures and to survive the changes personally, and as a Fellowship, we have had to find creative ways to adapt our practices, support our patients and provide care to our communities. We have had to reconsider how and where we deliver care. We have constantly needed to be agile, and adapt, as the landscape changed, sometimes on a daily basis. We had to rely on the art of what we do, not just the science of what we do. We have had to “Celebrate the Art of Surgery – In a Time of Disruption”.

It was with great confidence, and optimism in June that we started to plan for an even bigger and better ASC 2021 back in Melbourne. However, within a few weeks, the number of COVID cases in Melbourne started to rise exponentially. Our plans needed to change again, reminding us of what a disruptor COVID is, and how agile we need to be.

Just as we have had to adapt our practices and our personal lives to this COVID disruption, we have had to adapt the ASC. The RACS ASC 2021 will be an ASC that is completely different from any we have ever held. Whilst we will attempt to have an on-site presence in Melbourne, it is almost assured now that we won’t be able to have 2,500 people in one place. Therefore, we are looking to set up “hubs” around Melbourne, and in other metro and regional centres, where smaller groups can get together and participate in sessions virtually. Whilst we hope we will be able to travel in an NZ-Australia “bubble”, again there is no assurance that borders will be open, so we need to prepare for our International speakers contributing virtually, and it may be that all of our speakers will need to present virtually.

It will be a different ASC, undoubtedly, but it is also an opportunity to look to the future, and consider how we can maximise the delivery of outstanding educational, professional, and personal opportunities in new and exciting ways that go beyond the four walls of a convention centre.

There is much to be done, and we will try our best to keep you informed as we work through these issues.  We look forward to “seeing” you somehow, in some way, in May, as we celebrate the art of what we do, and how we have dealt with, and are dealing with, a time of disruption.


Professor Wendy Brown FRACS
ASC 2021 Convener
Associate Professor Sebastian King FRACS
ASC 2021 Scientific Convener