From the CEO’s Desk - Executive meeting outcomes

December, 2019

December already and another year almost over!! As ever it has been a very busy but VERY productive year for WONCA, and we have reported on many of those activities throughout the year. Our Annual Report for the period July 2018 to June 2019 has now been published and can be accessed on the WONCA website.

Annual report

WONCA Executive Meeting

The latest full meeting of the WONCA Executive took place in Bangkok on 20th and 21st November. As ever we had a very full agenda, but this article is an effort to highlight key discussions and decisions reached, to keep our members informed of progress.

We are fortunate to have so many people of quality to volunteer for positions on Executive. We benefit greatly from a wide variety of expertise and experience, which makes each face to face meeting a rich experience indeed.

Routine reports were received from each of the Regional Presidents, and written reports had been received from most Working Parties and Special Interest Groups.

Key discussions and decisions centred around:

• Finances - Executive considered a proposal from Hon Treasurer to revise the budgets for 2019 and 2020, based on greater than estimated income. Whilst some expenditure has also risen it did mean that a proposal to increase the budget for our valued – and increasing - work with WHO was approved.

• Discretionary Fund bids
The adjudication panel who had deliberated on the nine eligible bids received for WONCA funding presented their findings to Executive for endorsement. The quality of bids was high, and the panel had spent some time making sure there was consensus on the decision. Three bids were consistently marked just that little bit higher and so were recommended for the awards. These were the bids from: WP on Mental Health; WP on the Environment; and SIG on Family Violence; each of whom has been allocated $10,000. Congratulations to them and thanks to all who participated in the process.

• Bylaws
A number of changes to Bylaws and Organizational Policies were discussed. The Bylaws and Governance Committee will do further work on these before bringing a formal proposal to the next full Executive meeting in May 2020.

• CEO Search
The final interviews for the short-listed candidates for WONCA CEO had been held the day prior to Executive (19th November). The Search Committee had had a difficult task in separating the excellent candidates but had made a final decision which was advised to Executive. The name of the successful candidate will be made public once contracting has been completed.

• Communications
Both within the organization (most especially greater engagement with WPs and SIGs ) and externally with our MOs was discussed. This will be a key priority for the new CEO and Secretariat, but interim ways to improve communication were discussed and agreed.

Discussions on our work with WHO took up a significant part of the agenda. As well as hearing from Vivi Martinez Bianchi (our WHO Liaison) and the Regional Presidents, Executive also discussed the follow-on actions from the signing of the MOU with WHO in January this year. The WONCA delegation to WHA in May had agreed with WHO to undertake a piece of work looking at delivery of quality primary health care by multi-disciplinary teams led by a family doctor. WHO had requested case studies and evidence to support this approach. Considerable research has revealed that other health professionals engaged in primary care do not have global representation, so this has proved to be challenging. However work in Africa, led by our Africa Region President, Professor Shabir Moosa - on developing a PHC network in Africa of numerous disciplines of health professionals under the banner of “AfroPHC” – offers a model which may well fit with WHO’s ambitions. WONCA has agreed to help to facilitate AfroPHC’s further development and will use this to source case studies for the purposes of the WHO paper.

• Digital Health was also discussed.
This is a current very hot topic, and WONCA is undertaking a pilot together with Ping An Good Doctor of China, to try to define standards for PHC involving digital health and AI. This is being undertaken under the WP on eHealth. Our strong view is that it is vital for us to define standards rather than to have non-doctors define them, with us having to work with the outcome no matter how inappropriate.

• Consultancy and accreditation.
CEO briefed Executive on the continuing success of both programme accreditation and practice accreditation. WP on Education had tabled a paper on accreditation of CPD programmes and had also been asked to bring a paper to Executive on accreditation of Diploma or bridging programmes. These were discussed and approved by Executive for piloting.

• Approval of statements and papers.
Five papers and statements were presented to Executive for endorsement:
o A statement issued by Iberoamericana-CIMF deploring the violence in the region, most especially against healthcare professionals. Executive was happy to endorse this at a global level.
o A statement from WP on the Environment calling on WONCA to declare a climate emergency. There was some debate about the terminology but the majority of Executive endorsed the statement.
o Three statements emanating from the WONCA Rural Health Conference in Albuquerque in October. Two – the Albuquerque Attestation and the Statement on Island Health – were endorsed by Executive. Executive had some concerns about the implications for rural doctors in agreeing the third statement, in support of “NursingNow 2020”. These concerns have been passed to WP on Rural Practice who have been invited to reconsider some of the wording of this document.

> Statement Deploring Violence also in Español y Português 

> Statement declaring climate emergency 2019

> Island Medicine Statement

> Albuquerque Attestation on the Future of Rural Family Medicine in the USA

• One new and one recessed SIG.
Executive was please to approve a proposal for a new SIG on Emerging Practice Models. By contrast the SIG on Men’s Health was recessed as no reports have ever been received and there has been no evidence of any activity for some time.

The dates for the next Executive meeting have been agreed as 13th to 15th May 2020, just prior to World Health Assembly. Given that the meeting almost inevitably has to be in Europe, to allow the WONCA delegation to travel on to Geneva, it has been agreed to hold the meeting in Belfast. This is my home city, and an acknowledgement of my work over the past years before standing down at the end of 2020.

Christmas and New year
Finally I take this opportunity to wish all members Season’s Greetings. For those who celebrate Christmas I wish you a happy and peaceful one, and I wish everyone a very Happy New Year for 2020.

Dr Garth Manning