RACS Council appointed a working party to progress the matter and it was agreed that an electronic vote of members on the proposed name change will be conducted in 2022.
The working group identified two viable alternative names. Most working group members favoured the second name as it was closest to the current name: Royal Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand College of Surgeons (RAANZCS). This was sent to Council as a recommendation and was accepted.
RACS had previously considered a name change due to several related concerns, such as uncertainty about the meaning of the word ‘Australasia’ and whether it reflects our bi-national status; whether we should be called Australia and New Zealand or Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand: how do we best reflect the Māori and Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander cultures; does the prefix ‘royal’ still fit us, and what does all this mean for Fellows who use the postnominal FRACS.
The first request for a name change came in 2004 after a survey conducted by our New Zealand National Board found that most of our Aotearoa New Zealand Fellows and Trainees favoured a name change.
In 2006, a Fellowship survey included an exploratory question about a name change. Less than half of those respondents preferred the College name remain as ‘Australasian’ and a similar number preferred either the title ‘Australian and New Zealand’ or expressed no preference. In the same year, Council resolved that a postal ballot of the Fellowship be conducted to determine whether the College should change its name to ‘Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Surgeons’.
In 2007, a referendum on the name change was held. Fifty-seven per cent of respondents voted for a name change, which is less than the 75 per cent requirement defined by our Constitution and thus the name remained unchanged.
The name change will be put to Fellows to vote later in 2022. A 75 per cent yes vote is required by our Constitution for the name change to pass.
We received many opinions from the Fellowship regarding the proposed name change for the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.