Dr Kim Webber, Chief Executive Officer of Rural Health Workforce Australia, has a gripe to get off her chest, and wonders if anyone is suffering from the same affliction.
“Has anyone noticed the huge increase in ‘for profit’ private conferences discussing health care issues? Every week I am getting information, mainly from Informa and Criterion Conferences – current ones are around social determinants in indigenous health, e-health (always plenty of those!), social inclusion rural and remote health, dental health, obesity etc etc etc.
You can always spot one of these conferences because the registration fee is huge (in the thousands). The company’s aim in holding them is to make money – and all good to them – long live capitalism.
The problem with these conferences is that they are run by people outside of the health system (they convene topics on a variety of topics, not just health) – whatever sells. But they must be making a lot from the health conferences as the health topics are multiplying.
My main problem with these conferences (apart from clogging my in tray) is that they are starting to distract from the real policy organisation conferences – are they stopping us from talking to each other?
Who wants to convene an e-health conference when these guys have just done it (even if only a relatively small number of people attend)?
But I guess we as the health sector can choose to be consumers of these products or not.
I, for one, would love to see the back of them.”
• PostScript: The registration fees for this two day conference on “Governance and Accountability Models to Support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Organisations” are up to around $5,000 (reduced to around $4,000 for Indigenous organisations).
What do other Croakey readers think?
Is the booming health conference business wasting valuable time and resources, not to mention carbon emissions? Or do they give at least as much as they take?