Chairman's Report 2018

Dr Richard Aickin’s address to member organisations at the New Zealand Resuscitation Council's Annual General Meeting, 5 November 2018.

Welcome all to this annual general meeting of the New Zealand Resuscitation Council.

Service Performance Indicators

We measure our performance against a range of indicators. Our outcome areas are: robust, credible education; better-informed rescuers; and improved New Zealand standards.

Robust, credible education

In the year to 30 June 2018, we trained 69 new instructors (52 new CORE Advanced instructors and 17 new newborn life support instructors) over 7 instructor courses (3 CORE Instructor courses and 2 newborn life support instructor courses). This is 10 more instructors than we trained in 2017.

Our biennial CORE and Newborn Life Support instructor workshops were delivered on 19 April 2018 at Te Papa in Wellington, as part of the Council’s 21st anniversary conference.

We ask that full-day CORE course attendees give feedback on instructor performance on six variables. The variables are: approachability, availability, knowledge, communication, positive attitude, and course organisation. Ratings are given on a scale of 1-5, where 1 is ‘strongly disagree’ and 5 is ‘strongly agree’.

From 4,930 responses, the average score from all responses and across all variables was 4.88/5, which is a testament to the high quality of our instructors. This is an improvement on 2017 result of 4.85/5.

Better-informed rescuers

We place a high priority on ensuring the New Zealand resuscitation community is well informed, both about developments in our field and in the latest activities of the Council. A key tool for accomplishing this is our newsletters, of which there were three released in the year to 30 June 2018. These had an average open rate of 39.67% and the average click-through rate was 23.01%.

While an open rate of over 30% is good for email newsletters, we are aiming for over 50% and this is a decline on previous years. In part, this is attributable to the departure of the previous communications advisor, and the time spent finding a replacement.

We also published five media releases, along with frequent posts to our Facebook and Twitter audiences.

We have enjoyed steady growth on social media, with a  33.23% increase in our Facebook page likes, and a 39.76% increase in our number of Twitter followers.

NZ Resus 2018 – Coming of Age

We successfully held our bi-ennial conference between the 19th and the 21st of April.

NZ Resus 2018 – Coming of Age: Improving outcomes for 21 years, was held at Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum in Wellington.

With a total of 399 registrations, the event featured a range of impressive speakers, collegial networking opportunities, and professional development workshop of the highest quality.

We asked participants to rate their experience between 1 and 5, with 5 being excellent and 1 poor. 91% of respondents classed their time at NZ Resus as either 4 or 5. I believe this is a result we can all be proud of, and it is testament to the hard work put in by everyone involved.

Improved New Zealand standards through international links

The Australian Resuscitation Council is our closest international partner, with whom we develop resuscitation and first aid guidelines. We have updated the anaphylaxis flowchart shared between our two organisations, as part of our ongoing ANZCOR collaboration with the ARC. As further updates come through from our global partners in the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation, we will assess New Zealand’s guidelines and textbooks accordingly. 

The New Zealand Resuscitation Council has representation on four of six ILCOR task forces: 

  • Dr Robert Frengley on Education, Implementation and Teams
  • Dr Tonia Nicholson on Advanced Life Support
  • Dr Gabrielle Nuthall and me on Paediatric Life Support task force (of which I am co-chair)
  • Dr Lindsay Mildenhall on Neonatal Life Support.

Kevin Nation remains domain lead for airway and ventilation. Domains are topics that may have implications across more than one task force.

As we know, ILCOR shifted away from five-yearly reviews in favour of a continual review process. This means CoSTRs are scheduled for release at regular intervals. There are at least three CoSTRs set to be issued before the end of 2018. Other noteworthy recent studies, such as the PARAMEDIC 2 trial regarding the use of adrenaline in cardiac arrests, will factor into our ongoing evidence evaluation process.

The question for us, following the release of further CoSTRs, will be whether it constitutes a significant enough development in the body of evidence to warrant a full update of our existing resources.

Kevin Nation, Renee McKeany and I have attended the European Resuscitation Council conference in Bologna, and the ILCOR conference in Chicago. It was heartening to see the enthusiasm for saving lives that motivates us all on display at an international level, and I am eager to see the latest scientific developments discussed made widely available.



We have successfully completed our audit of instructors for the year ending on 30 June 2018. The vast majority of NZRC CORE Advanced instructors were fully up to date with their teaching and professional development requirements when the process began, a fact that reflects well on our informed and conscientious membership. Ongoing communication with those instructors who had requirements left to meet has led to significant progress, and most are on track to resume full and current status in June next year.

CORE has over the years earned a reputation for excellence, and I am pleased to see the high standards we maintain inspiring similar teaching abroad. A South Pacific Certificate of Resuscitation, conducted outside New Zealand using guidelines set by the NZRC, will soon be taught in the Pacific Islands by NZRC CORE Advanced instructors.

While this certification process will not take place under NZRC jurisdiction and we do not guarantee course content, it is clear the consistently excellent work performed by NZRC instructors throughout the Pacific region has led to this being called for. We are pleased to encourage the instructors overseeing development of these courses.

Newborn Life Support

We have continued to support the integration of NLS trainers within our overall CINZ framework. The Council aims to align the expectations of CORE and NLS instructor pathways, instructor and provider course assessments, instructor and provider course delivery, and ongoing instructor requirements.

It became clear to us that is uncertainty around the correct materials required for an NLS provider course. This confusion may have been be fuelled by the fact that outdated materials remain in the personal possession of instructors who used them in previous years, such as the resources formerly found on CDs issued by the NZRC. Some of these CDs remain in circulation, but they are no longer valid for use in an NLS course.

NLS instructors have been notified to clarify this issue. At our most recent conference, professional development workshop opportunities for NLS instructors were provided alongside those for CORE. We intend to continue along this path, building consistency and unity within the different professional branches of our organisation.

International campaigning

While we have previously observed Restart a Heart Day in New Zealand, 2018 is the first year it took on a truly global aspect. Rebranded specifically as World Restart a Heart Day, Resuscitation Councils and our member organisations around the world have organised events that in total will see hundreds of thousands of people trained in basic life saving skills, and educated about the processes and infrastructure available to them in a cardiac crisis.

I would like to congratulate the exceptional work done by NZRC member organisations like St John, Wellington Free Ambulance and the New Zealand Defence Force in organising major events to mark the day. I would furthermore like to thank all the members of the community around New Zealand who have organised their own events, some reaching hundreds of people and others taking place with a small group.

These combined efforts have taken Restart a Heart Day to a new level in New Zealand, and a benchmark has been set for us to take it still higher next year.

Collaboration for positive outcomes

As the venue of this meeting makes abundantly clear, our strong relationship with the Skills Organisation continues to be mutually beneficial. Skills are the New Zealand Qualifications Authority’s standard-setting body for first aid, and as such are a natural partner for the NZRC. Ongoing high level discussions between our two organisations have identified key areas of productive cooperation, in particular focusing on our reforms to the Emergency Care Instructor Assessments programme, and our goal of developing a new online learning management system.

We have continued our efforts to influence health and education policy in the right direction, and maintain communication with both relevant Ministries. Our lobbying has focused primarily on support for educating school children in CPR, and has ranged from submissions regarding local educational policy to informing New Zealand’s representatives at the World Health Organisation of their opportunities to make progress on these issues at a global level.

These aspirations are aligned to the World Health Organisation-endorsed Kids Save Lives statement. Kids Save Lives recommends that every school child over 12 years of age receive 2 hours of CPR training annually. The ultimate outcome sought is increased bystander participation and in New Zealand this may lead to an extra 600 lives saved every year.


Another initiative we are proud to promote alongside member organisations is GoodSAM. The GoodSAM app was introduced in New Zealand in December 2017, and is a free smartphone application that alerts enrolled responders to a cardiac arrest occurring close by.

Using information triangulated between the app and the relevant ambulance or emergency service, GoodSAM then alerts responders within 1000 metres of a cardiac arrest. Anyone who is trained in CPR and how to use an AED can register to become a GoodSAM responder. 

Over 3,000 people have enrolled with the GoodSAM app, and in the first half of 2018 alone there were more than 70 call outs. We encourage visitors to our website and participants in our courses to make full use of the app, and I am confident it has already helped to save lives.

Comings and goings

I would like to welcome new faces to our organisation, and recognise the contributions made by those who have left.

Since my last report as Chair, our long standing Communications Advisor Lachlan McKenzie bid us farewell. Over the years he became a central fixture of the NZRC; first point of contact for many, and as familiar with the workings of the council as he was capable in expediting its objectives. We were sorry to see him go, and wish him all the best in his latest ventures. He was replaced in June by Alastair Reith, our new Communications and Engagement Advisor. Welcome on board!

Following the departure of Rebecca O’Sullivan in 2017, we were pleased to welcome Rachel Allan as our new Office Administrator. She quickly proved herself an invaluable asset to the Council, with a wealth of experience to bring to the table and a keen eye for detail.

Peter Collins acted as temporary representative on our Council for Wellington Free Ambulance. In his brief time involved with us he made intelligent and practical contributions, and we thank him for his involvement.

With the dissolution of PECANZ, Sandra Bee ended her time as its representative on the Council. She contributed a great deal over years of involvement, and her absence will be keenly felt. Thank you, Sandra.

Last but not least, Alex Abelentseva has joined the Council, as the new representative for the NZ Defence Force. She has proven equally adept in contributing to round-table discussions as she is leading medical relief efforts in the Pacific.


I am proud to look back on what we have collectively achieved in 2018. With the continuing support of member organisations, staff and above all the instructors who make our courses a living example of excellence, I am eager to see what comes next.