The neurological establishment in our country faces unprecedented challenges right now and I can confirm that your recently elected NASA executive committee (ExCo) has braced itself to deal with these effectively.
Already since the NASA AGM held in Stellenbosch in March of this year, ExCo has held three productive meetings. Agenda’s have included diverse, important issues including, amongst others, the development of a strategy to ensure effective representation of our members in private practice when negotiating future remuneration for their services, and NASA’s support for post-graduate neurological education.
In order to properly deal with the challenges presently confronting our neurological community, ExCo has established new elected portfolios in Private Practice, Education and Ethics, which are currently headed up by Dave Anderson, Dali Magazi and Wiebren Duim, respectively.
Over the past eight months, Dominic Giampaolo has ensured that our financial house remains in good order by ensuring a responsible, transparent and cautious fiscal policy to protect NASA’s healthy yet modest financial reserves.
Meanwhile, Dave has worked tirelessly to get to grips with the complicated and constantly changing political landscape, which our members in private practice will need to navigate in the years ahead. He has ensured that ExCo remains up to date with the crucial issues. His efforts mean that ExCo is now in a position to make tough yet well-informed policy decisions. For instance, after careful consideration, it is now the firm and unanimous opinion of ExCo that, going forward, NASA members in private practice will need to be formally represented on the South African Private Practice Forum (SAPPF). Although SAPPF membership comes with unequivocal material benefits, there will be significant cost implications for our members in terms of increased annual membership fees.
The NASA Education Portfolio under Dali has overseen NASA sponsorship for the 2012 and 2013 registrar teaching weekends and, being a senator in the College of Neurologists’ of South Africa, he is keeping a watchful eye on developments there. Fellowship of the College of Neurology is now the only local qualification enabling a specialist neurologist to practice as such in South Africa. Although the university-issued MMed qualification has been retained, and has even now become compulsory (in addition to the fellowship), a MMed no longer, alone, allows the holder to register as a specialist neurologist with the HPCSA. As a consequence, the College of Neurologists is grappling with the issue of maintaining standards on the one hand, while on the other hand having to deal with a marked rise in the numbers of candidates sitting the College Examinations and pressure from the Department of Health to increase the number of qualified neurologists in South Africa.
I am happy to report that no issues have been referred to our Ethics Committee to date this year.
We all look forward to the next NASA congress convened by Professor Girish Modi, which will be held in Sandton from the 2nd to the 5th of April 2014. You will see that the 1st announcement lists no fewer than nine international speakers, all generously sponsored by the trade. As always, ExCo encourages all its NASA members to attend, despite distractions this year in the form of school holidays and the Argus Cycle Tour. Furthermore, ExCo strongly urges all NASA members, and especially those practicing in the private sector, to be present at the NASA AGM scheduled for 17h00 to 18h00 on Thursday April 3rd as there are crucially important issues which need to be decided at that meeting.
I would like to take this opportunity to assure all NASA members that your current ExCo has committed itself enthusiastically to effective, democratic, transparent and ethical governance of NASA affairs during its term.
For NASA Exco 2013
NASA is the professional body responsible for representing and protecting the interests of neurologists in Southern Africa.