A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE SOCIETY
I want to give you an update on how the Society is responding to the current circumstances. These are trying times which will test all of us and have a profound impact for years to come.
The Society is run by your colleagues in a voluntary capacity, and the contribution of those on Federal Council is very much appreciated at this time. We all have busy day jobs as well. We have a small professional Secretariat that implements the decisions and instructions of the Society’s office bearers. But it is those members whom you have elected to have official duties who carry the responsibility for the Society’s function and continuing existence. As such, and in these extremely demanding times, I have very much appreciated your patience as we deal with the issues at hand. I also recognise the importance of keeping you informed as we all work together over the challenging months ahead.
1. ANZSNM 50th Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM)
With the abrupt cancellation of the Sydney ASM our first priority was to verify our contractual obligations to the various parties involved in running such a meeting and to try to mitigate financial losses. The meeting planning, and hence costs, start about 2 years prior to the meeting with venue hire deposits and the engagement of the Professional Conference Organiser (PCO) who, like many of your contacts, is a small business. As it stands currently, the Society is likely to lose at least $250,000 from the forced cancellation of the conference. This time last week we were looking at far more. We are fortunate to have some financial reserves, but this loss will have a major impact on our resources – your resources and your Society. The decisions that we have to make do not come easily, as we are often faced with making the ‘least bad’ decision whilst balancing our legal and ethical obligations. Please be assured however that we remain focussed on you, our members, and will be contacting those of you who have already registered for the conference with details about how to claim your refund very soon.
2. The On Demand Conference – Plenary Sessions & Workshops
Organising Committee (LOC) had put in an enormous amount of effort to produce a bumper programme to celebrate what would have been our 50th ASM. We intend to not waste their efforts and plan to convert as much as we can to an “On Demand” rolling conference that will be released one session at a time over a number of months. Each session will contain around 2 hrs (±30 mins) of content from a number of speakers. After On Demand registrants have had time to engage with the session content after it has been released there will be a moderated discussion. The details are still to be decided but we have various online tools that can be used, or a combination of a number of these. You will be able to register to gain access as a single fee which covers all sessions, or we will also look at packaging these by individual sessions. So far, the following sessions have been identified (please note, these may be subject to change):
Session A: AI in Nuclear Medicine (2.5 hrs)
Session B: Emerging PET Tracers (2 hrs)
Session C: Radiochemistry Update (90 minutes)
Session D: Prostate Imaging & Therapy (2 hrs)
Session E: Nuclear Cardiology (2.5 hrs)
Session F: Radionuclide Therapy (2.5 hrs)
Session G: Cultural Proficiency Workshop (2 hrs)
Session H: Diversity workshop (2 hrs)
3. Awards, Prizes, Proffered Papers, etc
A number of you have put in a significant amount of effort to prepare for presentations at the ASM, both oral and posters, which may not be suitable to be held over to the next time we meet as a Society. We will investigate electronic means to allow you to present your papers and even, possibly, run the awards and prizes as well.
4. Branch & SIGs Meetings
We are all aware that there will be an enforced period of social distancing with no group meetings, such as state-based branch meetings and SIGs. We are also aware that you will be missing out on opportunities for CPD and we want to try to help keep an active programme available. I have asked the state branch representatives and other office bearers on the Federal Council to take the lead in keeping these events going as e-Meetings. There are a number of meetings planned by the branches already for the next few months which we will switch to an alternative format and we are working on providing the tools to these.
5. Radiopharmaceutical Supply
The Society, along with AANMS and RAINS representatives, has reconstituted the Working Group to liaise with our suppliers as there will be impact on our supply chain due to the reduced number of flights into Australia and New Zealand and as the crisis starts to impact on the production workforce. For example, we were made aware yesterday that there were significant issues with Mo99/Tc99m generators not being sent to New Zealand from Europe and we are working with ANSTO on behalf of our NZ members to support supply during this time. Domestic production of Mo99/Tc99m generators will continue, however the number of generators produced will be less, and we will keep you updated regularly about the supply and issues that arise. We anticipate that we may see reduced outpatient appointments at many practices, however the impact is difficult to predict. Importation of Lu177 for therapy may become problematic as flights continue to decrease in number and local production steps in to meet demand.
6. Supporting our members
There are so many issues that are of concern at present apart from the obvious health issues. Our colleagues, friends and families wellbeing will be of paramount concern and it will be the responsibility of all of us to watch out for each other. The Society will establish means and methods including social media channels to help us to keep in touch with each other and assist as best we can. There are already tools within the ANZSNM website such as discussion forums to use and we remain open to other suggestions.
It is times like these that we recognise it is the contribution of all which makes a difference. Ensure you look after yourselves and each other whilst doing your professional and personal best, as we face upcoming challenges together.
Thank you for taking the time to read this message.