Princess Alexandra Hospital Brisbane
12 months




Dr Richard Williams

Other supervisors

Dr Geoffrey Noel Askin, MBBS, FRACS, FAOrthoA

Dr Rob Labrom MBBS, MSc Surgery, FRACS (Orth), FAOrthA



Rachel Luton-Goggins
C/- Orthopaedic Department
Level 2
Princess Alexandra Hospital

T +61 7 3240 7276
F +61 7 3240 5156

Duration One year (12 months)

Stipend Approx AU$80,000 per annum plus on-call allowance


Brisbane Private Hospital
259 Wickham Terrace

Princess Alexandra Hospital
Ipswich Road

Educational goals and characteristics

Clinical duties

The AO Fellowship is sponsored by the AOSpine Reference Centre and is located at the Princess Alexandra and Brisbane Private Hospitals under the supervision of Drs Richard Williams, Geoff Askin and Rob Labrom. Although the position is of 12 months tenure, six months is spent in rotation with Drs Geoff Askin and Bill Ryan at the Mater Hospitals, including the Mater Children's Hospital, in spinal deformity. There are, therefore, two clinical fellows appointed annually, each in the opposite six-month term.The fellowship is based at Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) in Brisbane. PAH is an 800-bed tertiary adult teaching hospital and Level 3 Trauma Centre with a 60-bed general orthopaedic unit. The PAH is the second largest hospital complex in Brisbane and receives spinal surgical referrals from the Queensland as well as the northern parts of New South Wales, a combined referral population of 4 million. All areas of adult spinal surgery are managed at PAH, a caseload totalling some 400 operative spinal cases per annum, as well as 150 non-operative admissions per year. The Spinal Outpatients Clinic reviews approximately 15,000 referrals per annum across the entire range of acute and chronic adult spine conditions, including trauma, infection, neoplasia, degenerative disorders and deformity.

PAH is the site of Queensland's only 40-bed Spinal Injuries Unit (SIU). It manages all spinal injuries, with neurological involvement in the State of Queensland and its surrounds — servicing approximately 4 million people. Spinal injured patients without neurological involvement are also transferred to this hospital. Spinal malignancies and degenerative back conditions complete the referral base to this spinal service.

Co-location of the SIU with the acute hospital allows continuity of care of the spinally injured patient from their acute presentation through to long-term rehabilitation in one campus, a situation almost unique throughout the world. Accordingly, the spinal surgeons of PAH have developed a unique relationship with the spinal rehabilitation physicians and weekly clinical meetings are held in the SIU on a Wednesday at 7.30 am for one hour. The newly formed Chair of Trauma Surgery is also located at PAH providing additional scope AOA Accredited Fellowship

for collaboration in terms of clinical input and research of traumatic spinal conditions. The Fellowship involves a weekly supervised Spine Fellows list at PAH and supervised consultant lists by Drs Williams, Askin and Labrom and encompasses a 1 in 3 on-call arrangement at the public hospital. Brisbane Private Hospital (BPH) is one of Brisbane's largest centres of dedicated orthopaedic surgical caseload. Dr Williams has his offices at the hospital and his private practice in spinal surgery and is exclusively at this centre. Amenities allow for educational meetings, which are held on a fortnightly basis, and a clinical library. The fellow attends Dr Williams' weekly private operating sessions at BPH.

On-call commitments

The spinal fellow provides 24 on-call on a 1 in 3 roster for spinal disorders at PAH. The Accident and Emergency Department will notify the fellow and the orthopaedic registrar on-call for that day about all relevant spinal admissions. It is expected that the spinal fellow and the registrar for the Spinal Service for that six months will attend to all of these patients.

Clinical sessions

There is a weekly all day operating session at PAH, run in two parallel operating theatres with consultant supervision. There is also a fellow trauma list held on a weekly basis. The fellow and the unit registrar will attend each morning and each afternoon session and first assistant/supervisor operator positions are shared equitably between the registrar and fellow. Out of hours trauma/acute surgery is undertaken as required.

Daily ward rounds are held with fellow and training registrar and weekly consultant ward rounds are also undertaken.


Compulsory meetings include:

1 Every Wednesday, 7.30-8.30 am at the Spinal Injuries Unit Clinical Meeting, Princess Alexandra Hospital

2 Every second Friday, 7.00am-8.00 am at Brisbane Private Hospital for a spine education meeting, which encompasses either clinical lecture presentations by the fellows or clinical radiology sessions.


Research undertaking is an integral part of the fellowship position. The Reference Centre in Brisbane has established strong links with the Queensland University of Technology, building collaboration that enables access to advanced research facilities, including:

• animal operating theatres
• cell culture laboratories
• electron microscopy
• chemical laboratories
• histology/Immunohistochemistry
• proteomics
• material characterisation
• biomechanics laboratories
• medical imaging
• simulation laboratories

Cadaver facilities coming online in late 2006 also increase the scope of research and training undertaken in the centre. There is a specific weekly time allocation devoted to ongoing research work.

It is the responsibility of each appointed fellow to complete at least one research project to the point of acceptance for peer-reviewed publication within the 12-month tenure of the position. Certification of completion of the fellowship will be dependant on completion of this project to the satisfaction of the fellowship supervisors. A podium at one national meeting during the fellowship is mandatory.


The fellow is entitled to five weeks’ paid annual leave

Conference leave

Conference leave is not funded by the fellowship unless it is part of the five weeks’ annual leave.

Requirements and conditions

For special conditions relating to this fellowship, contact Dr R Williams Overseas-based fellows are to return to the parent country on completion of a fellowship


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