RACS 2020 Awards

24 November 2020

ASOHNS is please to congratulate two members who have been announced as recipients of RACS Awards.

The ESR Hughes Award is awarded for distinguished contributions to surgery by RACS Fellows and others and for 2020 this was awarded to Dr Neil Vallance (Victoria).

The Rural Surgeons Award is an award acknowledging significant contributions to surgery in rural settinigs in Austrralia and New Zealand. Dr Bal Krishan is the 2020 recipient.


The awards are due recognition of their services and dedication to their patients and our speciality.  

RACS NSW Surgeons Month

2 November 2020


Click on the image to view the RACS NSW video

Each November, RACS NSW celebrates the achievements of our surgeons.

This recognition and celebration has become much more significant this year and especially so for the ENT community.

ENT surgeons have been a highlight at Surgeon's evening in the past years, with the prestigious Graham Coupland Lecture being given by Dr Gillian Dunlop 2018 and A.Prof Kelvin Kong in 2019. This year Prof Raymond Sacks will be awarded the Educator of Merit award and the Graham Coupland lecture will be on the head and neck cancer surgery.  

Secretary of health, Elizabeth Koff will the guest of honour at this formal evening, with members of the NSW health ministry and CEO's of our public and private hospitals in attendance, to show their appreciation for the Surgical workforce.

RACS NSW State committee hope you will join us with your partners and family. 

NSW Surgeons' Evening - Friday 27 November 2020 

The pinnacle event of the month - NSW Surgeons’ Evening is where we celebrate surgeons through the Graham Coupland Lecture presented by Professor Jonathan Clark on the topic of The Face of Head and Neck Cancer, we present awards and come together to recognise the leadership our surgeons have shown, especially throughout this unprecedented year.

Please join us for seated, two course meal and a celebration of “Leadership in a time of Crisis”.

$45 - Dinner & non-Alcoholic Beverages

$60 - Dinner and alcoholic beverages

Invitation (PDF 153.84KB)

For further information, please email or phone +61 2 8298 4500

Register now (login required)

Women in Surgery Lunch - Sunday 29th November 2020

Please join us to hear from our exceptional speakers the Hon Bronnie Taylor MLC and Ms Carrie Marr Chief Executive of the Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC)   

Venue: RACS NSW Office, Suite 1, Level 26, 201 Kent Street, Sydney


Arrival 12.15pm, Lunch and Program 12.30pm – 2.30pm




Lunch and Alcoholic Beverages - $40

Lunch and Non-Alcoholic Beverages - $30


Event information:  Click here



Due to current restrictions, limited spaces available.


Register now: Click here








Joint Media Statement - Minister for Health and President, Australian Medical Association

14 September 2020

Please click on the following link to access the Joint Media Statement ( 9 September 2020) from The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health and Dr Omar Khorshid, President, Australian Medical Association - Additional Commonwealth Support to Protect Healthcare Workers from COVID -19

ANZSPO Button Batteries in Children: Update on Current Management

22 June 2020


Please click here to access the current statement from the Australian and New Zealand Society of Paediatric Otorhinolaryngology (ANZSPO) aiming to update members on the current management of button batteries in children.

Thank you,


President ANZSPO

2020 Queen's Birthday Honour List Recipients

10 June 2020

ASOHNS Federal Members, the NSW State Section Executive, members and Secretariat are very pleased to advise that two members have been acknowledged in the 2020 Queen's Birthday Honours.

Congratulation to  Dr John Curotta (NSW), awarded the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to medicine as an ear, nose and throat surgeon, and to Indigenous health.

Congratulations to Conjoint Professor Paul Walker (NSW), awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM), for service to paediatric medicine, and to professional organisations.

AHPPC Statement on restoration of elective surgery

24 April 2020

Please click here to access the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) statement on restoration of elective surgery.

Or Download PDF

Joint media release from Brendan Murphy and Nick Coatsworth authorised by Greg Hunt, Minister for Health

22 April 2020

Dear Members / Trainees

Please see message below and a link to the joint media statement from Brendan Murphy & Nick Coatsworth, authorised by Greg Hunt, on the easing of certain elective surgery restrictions. 

We will be in touch with further detail as this becomes available.

Kind regards,

Federal Secretariat 


Click here for the full media release in PDF


Minister Hunt’s office issued the media release regarding the easing of elective surgery restrictions.

The Prime Minister’s office has also issued a media statement, Update on Coronavirus Measures, that includes the following section about elective surgery.

Elective surgery

National Cabinet received up-to-date data on the stock of personnel protective equipment (PPE) in the National Medical Stockpile, and PPE held by state and territory health systems. PPE stocks and other equipment such as ventilators are now largely sufficient to meet expected demand for Australia’s COVID19 response through to December 2020, with current social distancing and travel restriction measures in place. 

National Cabinet noted that the National Medical Stockpile does not replace state, territory or private processes to source and deliver PPE to meet their needs. To date, the National Medical Stockpile has dispatched over 22 million masks primarily to state and territories, GP’s, Community Pharmacy, ACHHOS and aged care, with a further 11.5 million being dispatched this week.

Unnecessarily delaying elective surgeries can worsen health outcomes, increase anxiety and reduce social and economic productivity. 

As result of Australia’s success in flattening the curve, our low rates of COVID related hospitalisation and new data on stocks of PPE, National Cabinet agreed that from 27 April 2020, category 2 and equivalent procedures can recommence across the public and private hospital sectors. 

As result of Australia’s success in flattening the curve, our low rates of COVID related hospitalisation and new data on stocks of PPE, National Cabinet agreed that from 27 April 2020, category 2 and some important category 3 procedures can recommence across the public and private hospital sectors. 

National Cabinet further agreed that the following procedures can recommence from 27 April 2020:

·         IVF

·         Screening programs (cancer and other diseases)

·         Post cancer reconstruction procedures (such as breast reconstruction)

·         Procedures for children under 18 years of age.

·         Joint replacements (incl knees, hips, shoulders)

·         Cataracts and eye procedures

·         Endoscopy and colonoscopy procedures

PPE stocks for these elective surgeries and procedures will not be taken from the National Medical Stockpile.

It is estimated that a gradual restart of elective surgeries will see 1 in 4 closed elective surgery operating lists reopen, with flexibility for states to determine the appropriate levels of elective surgery within this general framework.

Reintroduction of elective surgery in a staged manner balances the ongoing need for the capacity to treat COVID-19 patients, while allowing our hospitals to treat elective surgery patients.

These arrangements will be reviewed by 11 May 2020, to determine if other elective surgeries and procedures can recommence and volumes increased.

National Cabinet further agreed to the Australian Dental Association recommendation that dentists move to level 2 restrictions (such as fitting dentures, braces, non-high speed drill fillings and basic fillings), allowing a broader range of dental interventions to occur where the risk of transmission can be managed and PPE stocks procured by the private sector.

National Cabinet again thanked Australia’s health care professionals for their work to support our COVID-19 response.

Kind regards,

Ben Houston

Acting Director – Health Communication

Communication and Change Branch | People, Communication and Parliamentary Division

Australian Government Department of Health

T: 02.6289.5745 | E:

PO Box 9848, Canberra ACT 2601

Level 3 Sirius Building North, Furze St. Woden ACT


The Department of Health acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and to elders both past and present. 

MBS Update 20 April 2020

22 April 2020

A further update to MBS Telehealth Items has been made by the Department of Health effective from 20 April 2020.

The amendment removes the requirement for specialists to bulk-bill patients.

For further detail, please refer to MBS Online - Please click here

ASM Virtual Congress - Important information


14 March 2020


RE: ASOHNS ASM 2020 – Important Information



Please see below some important information relating to the ASOHNS Annual Scientific Meeting.


Virtual Meeting

Please be advised, the meeting will not be broadcast live. The presentations will be available online in four weeks. 


To access the presentations, a registration fee will apply. If you have already registered for the ASM, the ASOHNS registration team will automatically transfer your registration across to this new category and refund the difference.


For Full members and Non-Members, the fee will be $550 (inc GST). 

For Medical Students / Junior Doctors / Registrars, the fee will be $440 (inc GST).


If you do not wish to have access to the virtual meeting, please email by Monday 23 March 2020.




Fellows who register for the virtual meeting, will be entitled to CPD points. If you do not register for the virtual meeting, then no CPD points will be applied to your RACS portfolio.


Presentations by Registrars / Junior Doctors 

Should you wish to receive a certificate for your oral and/or e-poster, you will need to be registered for the virtual meeting. 



If you wish to receive a full refund for your registration, please email All refund requests must be submitted by Monday 23 March 2020. Due to the high influx of refund requests, please allow 3-4 weeks for your refund to be processed.


We thank you for your understanding and patience during this time.


Kind regards


ASOHNS Registration Team









ASM 2020 - Converting to a Virtual Conference



8 March 2020

The Annual Scientific Meeting as a face-to-face conference cannot go ahead as planned. The risk of delegates acquiring COVID-19 is low, but real. 


The risk of holding the conference is likely the same in Sydney as anywhere else in Australia.  However, the risk of a delegate being exposed to COVID-19 at the conference could result in 75% of the ENT’s in Australia and most, if not all, trainees potentially being quarantined for at least 2 weeks. This would be devastating for the healthcare of Australia particularly with the potential problems if the virus does accelerate as predicted.


Therefore, ASOHNS’ Council Federal Executive have made the difficult decision to cancel the face-to-face conference and the Conveners have proposed to take steps to convert the conference in Sydney to a virtual congress. 


The course content will be captured onsite or remotely over the March 13-15th dates. All those who were presenting will have the opportunity to present their work. Presentations will be collated for broadcast and online access prior to 31 May 2020.


We will be spending the coming days, the dates of the meeting 13-15 March 2020 and a couple of weeks of editing, to deliver an outstanding virtual conference with all the scientific content planned.

Details of how to provide your presentation will be sent separately to all presenters.


The valuable preparation and scientific material will still occur on the conference dates as planned, but without any delegates. 


The online material will be available to all ASOHNS members, trainees and delegates for the purposes of CPD and scientific benefit.


Registration fees to delegates will be refunded upon request to RACS Events management after 15 March 2020.


We will liaise the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons regarding CPD.


If you were scheduled to present at the conference, you will receive a separate email regarding how to submit your presentation, either in person at the ICC, or electronically.



We thank you for your patience and understanding at this time.


If you have a general enquiry, please send to with the Subject line “ASM 2020 Virtual Congress”


We will endeavour to respond within 48 hours.


Registration enquiries should be sent to















World Hearing Day 2020: Hearing for life: Don't let hearing loss limit you

2 March 2020


World Hearing Day is held on 3 March each year to raise awareness on how to prevent deafness and hearing loss and promote ear and hearing care across the world. 


On World Hearing Day 2020, WHO will highlight that timely and effective interventions can ensure that people with hearing loss are able to achieve their full potential. It will draw attention to the options available in this respect.  

Key messages for World Hearing Day 2020: 

At all life stages, communication and good hearing health connect us to each other, our communities, and the world.

For those who have hearing loss, appropriate and timely interventions can facilitate access to education, employment and communication.

Globally, there is lack of access to interventions to address hearing loss, such as hearing aids.

Early intervention should be made available through the health systems.



Links to flyers for the following:

Inala Health Centre: Big step in the closing the gap


23 July 2019




It should shame us that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have such poor health outcomes. They die 10 years younger and have much higher death rates than non-indigenous people across all age groups and for all major causes of death.


Heart disease, advanced cancer, diabetes and subsequent kidney failure, untreated blindness and childhood deafness are far too common. Cancer is diagnosed later and incomplete treatment is almost the norm. The rate of First Nations’ discharge against medical advice, an indicator of health systems’ successfully engaging patients, is eight times higher than for non-indigenous Australians. Despite employing Aboriginal liaison officers, hospitals are failing First Nations people.

Health messages are being ignored: 39 per cent of indigenous people smoke daily compared with 14 per cent of the Australian population. Consequently, heart disease is eight times higher in middle-aged indigenous Australians. The commonest cancers in First Nations people are lung and head and neck (mouth and throat), both smoking-related. Diabetes is three times more prevalent and chronic renal failure, an indicator of poor diabetes management, is five times higher. 

 Last year’s Australian Medical Association report card on Closing the Gap highlights that health systems are designed for “equity of outcome”. But something is wrong when First Nations people are 10 times less likely to be added to a kidney transplant waiting list and 30 per cent less likely to be offered cataract surgery. 

Health expenditure on those with greater needs should be higher. Combined public and private hospital costs of First Nations people with cancer and musculoskeletal disease (hip and knee replacements and so on) are lower than for non-indigenous Australians. The cost of mental and behavioural disorders, diabetes and injuries are higher. 


The lower cost of orthopaedic and musculoskeletal services but higher rates of obesity and injuries reflect the lack of access to public health services. The higher rates of cancer but lower spend on cancer services for First Nations people is disgraceful. 


We may pride ourselves on our multiculturalism, but “otherness” and pigeonholing are everywhere. 


Assumptions by staff that the indigenous patient will not turn up for an operation mean they often are not placed on theatre lists. The reasoning that remote indigenous people will not arrive when a matched kidney donor becomes available at necessarily short notice may explain the one-tenth rate of indigenous people offered a place on transplant lists. 


Indigenous people are slower to access medical services to investigate health complaints. The abdominal pain or rectal bleeding that signifies a possible bowel cancer is just too hard to investigate when you have to leave a safe environment and dependent children to travel many hours by car and then train or plane to a potentially unsafe hostel to be seen by white health professionals who don’t understand your thinking and culture.  


Then the assumption is often made that the appointments for investigations that may have long waiting lists and require other long journeys won’t be kept. 


Canada and the US have similar indigenous health issues, although not as bad. Each is building First Nations hospital networks run by indigenous organisations for indigenous patients. The hospital is “culturally safe” in design and staffing. Cancer investigations are expedited, as are ear and eye surgeries that are relatively cheap and simple. 


Diabetes and chronic renal failure with dialysis are treated in a sensitive environment that encourages engagement and participation. Indigenous hospitals can be training centres for indigenous employment from nursing to accounting and building maintenance. They can be places where non-indigenous health professionals are taught cultural sensitivity and about the health and emotional needs of our 800,000 First Australians. 


St Vincent’s Healthcare Australia has allocated funding from its inclusive health program to test the viability and business case of a First Nations hospital and health network proposed for Inala in Brisbane. Its steering committee is led by Noel Hayman, Queensland’s first Aboriginal doctor and specialist public health physician. He is director of the Inala Indigenous Health Service, which is associated with the University of Queensland. He is being advised by Kelvin Kong, Australia’s first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander surgeon, and other respected and senior specialists.


There are 85,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders living in the neighbourhood of the Inala centre. That is the population of Bundaberg, which has a 240-bed public hospital with five operating theatres and an endoscopy suite, along with three private hospitals with 10 operating rooms and four theatres for endoscopies.


It is envisaged the Inala health centre hospital will be a 23-hour hospital for indigenous patients to enable them to comfortably enter the hospital system. It will have the cancer surgeons and endoscopists to screen for the cancers that present in great numbers and are too advanced to cure. 


It will be a waiting list reduction hospital for non-indigenous people. It would be a culturally sensitive place with good, clean hostel accommodation next door. This Aboriginal hospital will screen for cancer of the lungs, bowel, throat and breast. Patients then can be referred directly to the major tertiary hospitals including Princess Alexandra, Logan and QEII, and the patients will be supported in that journey. The Inala First Nations hospital also can help patients in other areas where results are still poor — dental care, dialysis and palliative services.


If a sustainable model of care for indigenous Australians can be built in Inala, other indigenous hospitals could be built elsewhere. We have to close the gap. Spare capacity in these indigenous hospitals could be filled with the overflowing non-indigenous waiting list patients. Everyone’s a winner.


Planning for Inala makes the case that Australia can catch up with Canada and the US in addressing poor indigenous health outcomes with a well-funded indigenous hospital and health network. Now the community needs to face the challenge of funding the building and ensuring sustainable ongoing resourcing. We need equality of outcome in First Nations health to start to close the gap in education and economic outcomes. Today’s healthcare model fails them.


Christopher Perry is an associate professor at the University of Queensland. This essay was published in The Australian 3 July 2019



















Hearing Health Roadmap

15 July 2019

Australia’s first Hearing Health Roadmap has been created to improve the lives of the millions of Australians affected by hearing loss. 

The Roadmap was reviewed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council on Friday 8th of March, to spearhead a coordinated effort to improve hearing health.

The Roadmap can be accessed here :$File/Roadmap%20for%20Hearing%20Health.pdf

ASOHNS Adviser on Diversity

15 July 2019

Following the March ASOHNS Council meeting a new co-opted, honorary position of Advisor on Diversity was created on the ASOHNS Council. 

We thank all our members who took the time to submit an Expression of Interest.

The selection sub-committee were extremely pleased with the calibre of candidates, and their experience and willingness to take on the role.  

It is with great pleasure the ASOHNS Federal Council would like to announce that Dr Bridget Clancy FRACS (Victoria) has been offered and accepted the role. 

The Advisor on Diversity will attend Council Meetings and be involved with the oversight and implementation of diversity and inclusion across the society's activities, including Board activities (selection and training), member activities and annual scientific meetings. 


ASOHNS 2019 International Scholarship

19 June 2019

We would like to announce that Dr Tika Ram Adhikari from Bhutan is the 2019 recipient of the International scholarship from the Australian Society of Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery (ASOHNS), to attend surgical training courses and to observe Otolaryngology Head and Neck surgeons in Australia.

After a competitive process the committee selected Dr Adhikari from a strong and worthy field of candidates. 

The Royal Government of Bhutan provides its population of 0.7 million free health care through a three-tier system. There are no private hospitals or clinics in Bhutan. Any advanced and complicated diseased that cannot be treated in Bhutan are referred outside the country at government expense.

Dr Adhikari is one of five ENT surgeons who serve the needs of the whole nation and they don't have a trained Otologist in the country to work with the treatment of the approximate 18,000 ear cases they see. The annual health bulletin shows ear disease as among the top diseases across all districts in the country. Dr Adhikari is also a faculty member in the Khesar Gyelpo University of Medical Science of Bhutan actively involved in teaching ENT technicians, nurses, interns and residents. 

While in Australia in November Dr Adhikari will attend a Temporal Bone course in Perth and spend observation time with Professor Peter Friedland. With limited opportunity to upgrade his skill and knowledge at home Dr Adhikari is very pleased to be this year's scholarship recipient. 




Queen's Birthday 2019 Honour List Recipient

18 June 2019

ASOHNS Federal Executive, Members and Secretariat would like to congratulate Professor Bruce Black on being awarded the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday 2019 Honours List, for significant services to Otolaryngology and to medical education.

ASOHNS 2019 Society Medals

10 May 2019

Congratulations to recipients of the 2019 Society Medal who were presented with their medals during the 2019 ASOHNS Annual Scientific Meeting held in Brisbane.


For Distinguished Contribution to the Art and Science of Otolaryngology:

Dr Bal Krishnan

Dr Gerard Fogarty

Certificates of Appreciation:

2019 ASM Co - Convenor, Dr Scott Coman


2019 ASM Co - Convenor, Dr Ben Wallwork

Read NH&MRC In Focus article on ASOHNS member A/Prof Kelvin Kong

21 December 2017

Closing the Gap on ear health has been a key focus for many ASOHNS members. #EarHealthForLife

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