President’s Report 2018
This meeting represents the end of my term as President of our society. As you are aware, the rotation of the President is on a 3 year basis. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to you the members of our Society for affording me this fantastic opportunity to have served you over the last 12 years in the capacity of the treasurer, EXCO member and president. It has been an incredible learning experience for me and allowed me most importantly to forge relationships with many people and organisations that I would not otherwise have been able to accomplish. Being the President of an august society like ours has been a great privilege and I am glad that I have done it despite the stresses and frustrations that come with the job. I would also like to take this opportunity to apologise to anyone that I may have offended or upset in the course of executing my duties during my term. If any this was done completely unintentionally and for the good of the Society in general.
I now will be handing the reins over to John Black who I feel has the necessary credentials to do a very good job. John has a proven track record as a loyal member of the EXCO for almost a decade now. I have come to know him well over this period, and can testify to him being a level headed decision maker, extremely organised and a fair player. One of the best conferences that the Society has organised was under his guidance. He represents all the ethics and ethos that we need to take the Society forward in the difficult time that the medical industry faces now.
With the change of the President, the day committee will also change, and the new treasurer of the society will now be Dr Jacques Viljoen, and the secretary will be Dr Ian Butler. I wish you well in your new duties.
To the Executive committee that have served with me over the years, I thank you for your input and your valuable time that you invested to make our endeavours a success. I ask your forgiveness for the record long EXCO meetings and your indulgence.
This is an election year, and four of the members of the EXCO will have to resign as their terms have come to an end. We have called for nominations and I urge you to vote prudently to ensure you have who you want to represent you.
One of the tasks that I set myself when I was elected was to ensure transformation and for the representation on the Society to be appropriate. However, I cannot as the president just ordain demographic representation. It is you the members that will have to vote accordingly to ensure that we have the necessary changes that we so desperately need in the Society. I also implore all of you to think carefully and be proactive in deciding how you wish transformation to occur, because it must happen to ensure the survival of the society. I personally feel that transformation is taking longer than I would have liked, but this may be due to various factors beyond my control. We as the EXCO are looking at this and may have to come to you to effect certain changes in the constitution to achieve this. One of the core points that we will look at is the duration of representation on EXCO and the number of term that any individual can serve to allow better rotation and broader representation.
The Society has achieved a lot over the years based on the hard work without remuneration by the EXCO and the many subcommittees and subgroups. For this I extend my sincere appreciation. Please continue the good work. But changing of the guard is inevitable and essential to maintain a healthy organisation.
It goes without saying but the Society cannot function without its members and the fees that you pay to sustain the organisation. To this end we will only increase the fees for this year by the CPI.I would like to remind you that remaining members fat outweighs not being part of the society as the Society is there to serve you and protect you on numerous fronts that would otherwise be difficult to do as an individual.
The society will always ensure that conference organisation and facilitation will be the best we can present to you.
We will endeavour to maintain a website and online journals for your benefit.
We will maintain and encourage CME and Journal clubs on a regional basis.
We will continue to Fund Academic departments, registrars and maintain funds for outreach.
The society has a tariff committee that is on an ongoing basis negotiating the best deals and coding funders on your behalf.
It also maintains member support and practice management.
The membership of the Society presently stands at 241.
The Financial status of the Society remains strong. Our accounting is maintained by Integritas.
The Society has met the requirements and has been registered as a Non-profit organisation and is also tax exempt.
The society’s income is predominantly from dividends and income from interest from our invested money, grants received the surplus from our conferences and membership fees.
The ENT Society is extremely concerned about the abuse of RWOPS. We therefore urge those that use the RWOPS to do so ethically ensuring that they fulfil their commitment to the state and the general population as per their contracts.
We have received complaints that state consultants may spend more time in private practice than permitted by their RWOPS agreements. The state is paying these consultants for private patient management with healthcare funds that are allocated to state patient care. This diverts fixed financial resources from state patient care to private patient care. Such maladministration of healthcare funds is unethical. It is also illegal as the constitution places responsibility on the state to ensure efficient allocation of our limited resources for healthcare. Every Rand spent on state consultants while they manage private patients is a Rand less for state patient care.
Registrar training is severely compromised by the lack of consultant presence in clinical situations and theatre. Unsupervised surgery and patient evaluation leads to poorer patient outcomes and Inefficient use of theatre time leading to cancellations and long waiting lists for surgery. This contributes to the increasing litigation against state hospitals. Consultants who are paid to supervise and work in theatre and clinics may be elsewhere managing private patients instead.
However, we recognise the fact that there are some Heads of Departments that are actively ensuring efficient function of the departments and policing the abuse.
The history book has now been commissioned to appear as an electronic version and has been paid for by the Society. This process of conversion of the files, photographs and data is happening at the moment and will be available in the next few months. This version will be editable, and we will ensure that the history of the society will be preserved in the detail that is necessary.
We encourage you to continue to contribute to this effort. You may contact Stefaan Bouwer or Janette Pieters (our secretary) with any material that you may have for inclusion.
The Academic departments continue to function despite many difficulties. The ENT Society, however, is committed to assisting the departments in whatever way that is possible. We continue to provide a Departmental grant on an annual basis and recently this has been increased. This of course is in addition to the Registrar grants that are allocated to assist the trainees in their development.
We acknowledge that many of our departments are having challenges with personal and training and academics may be compromised, but the ENT Society will continue to do the utmost to assist in this regard.
Outreach continues to be a vital part of many of our Departments and we encourage this and assist financially wherever we can. The Open Access Textbook established by Professor Fagan is gaining more momentum and is now regarded as one of the primary learning tools in the world.
The ENT Society has also increased the financial incentive to departments that publish in recognised journals.
In conclusion, I would like to bid farewell to you all as President of the ENT Society. It was truly a great honour and privilege to serve the Society over the three years as the President and the previous six years as the treasurer. I thank you for giving me this fantastic opportunity to give something meaningful back to my profession. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the support, advice and hard work of a dedicated EXCO, all of whom are working at this completely voluntarily. A special thanks goes to my secretary, Janette who has made the job as President extremely easy by ensuring that all works smoothly on a daily basis.
Shanil Ramjettan. 30 October 2018. Cape Town