From the CEO's desk: May 2019

Photo: Executive with colleagues from the Cross Straits Medicine Exchange Association who receive their certificate of membership

Nihao! Hello from Beijing where we have just completed the first full face to face meeting of the 2018-20 WONCA Executive (17th to 19th April). The meeting was planned to coincide with the 4th Annual General Practice Training Forum of the Chinese Medical Doctors’ Association (CMDA) Society of GPs (a WONCA Member) during which all members of Executive took part in a global panel discussion on the morning of Thursday 18th April.

My article this month is to try to summarise some of the key issues discussed, and decisions reached, by Executive during the meeting.

Statutory Committee reports

All of WONCA’s Statutory Committees have to formally report to Executive on each occasion. During the April meeting the following key issues were reported on:

Finance – finances are in good shape generally and some income streams, such as consultancy, have already met the target for 2019. Nevertheless the Hon Treasurer urged caution about a couple of income streams – most especially membership levy payments and conference income – and minor budget revisions were proposed and accepted by Executive to take the revised estimates into account.

Bylaws – as it is early in the biennium there was relatively little to report, though there were some outstanding issues from the 2018 Korea Council, more fully reported on below.

Membership – Membership Committee had reviewed four applications for WONCA membership and recommended them to Executive for endorsement. Executive was pleased to endorse all four applications:
• Full membership to the Association of Family Physicians of Kosovo.
• Full membership to the Greek College of General Practitioners.
• Associate membership to the Cross-Straits Medicine Exchange Association Committee of International and Premium Medicine (CHINA)
• Academic Membership to Department of Community Health and Family Medicine, University of Florida (USA)
The certificate of membership was presented to colleagues from the Cross Straits Medicine Exchange Association at a small ceremony in Beijing. (see photo at top)

Photo at right: Dr Ding receives her certificate of Direct Membership from WONCA president, Donald Li.

Organizational Equity Committee
– OEC had reaffirmed support for LGBTQ issues, including a call for all such issues to be open for free discussion during the next world conference in Abu Dhabi, despite that country’s viewpoint on the topic.

Working Party and Special Interest Group Reports

Reports had been received from most of WONCA’s 11 WPs and 15 SIGs (a SIG on Adolescent and Young Adult Health having been approved by Executive in January).

Executive considered, and unanimously supported, a proposal for a new WONCA SIG on LGBTQ (Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender and Queer/Questioning) Issues. It felt that this was an important SIG for many of our members, but also an essential group to help to advise Executive on LGBTQ health issues affecting our LGBTQ patients. Hopefully we can get this group to write a short article for a future WONCA News, with details of how to join for those interested.

Executive also had some discussion on our current set of WPs and SIGs, to provide feedback to those groups which were perhaps performing less well and also to see if there were any significant absences of relevant groups which was leading to key WONCA priorities being overlooked. Digital health and Disaster Risk Reduction are increasing priorities and Executive discussed ways in which these topics could be highlighted through our networks.

WHO – Executive also received a report from our WONCA-WHO Liaison, which was followed by an open discussion on WONCA priorities with WHO for the forthcoming period. This is especially relevant as a WONCA delegation (Donald Li, Anna Stavdal, Vivi Martinez Bianchi and me) will attend World Health Assembly in Geneva starting on 20th May, and will help to inform our discussions with WHO colleagues at that time.

CEO Search Committee

As many of you will know, I plan to step down from my role as WONCA CEO at the end of 2020, and so the search is now on for my successor. Executive had appointed a CEO Search Committee, led by Anna Stavdal and including Job Metsemakers and Ruth Wilson, and it heard reports from the committee including a suggested job description and timeline for the recruitment process. By the time you read this the advert and job description should be on the website and have been circulated to all Member Organizations and other interested groups. Please do promote this as widely as possible so that we ensure plenty of good quality applicants.

Bylaws and Extraordinary General Meeting

Finally for this month I return to the topic of Bylaws. Many of you will recall that due to a Secretariat oversight we had not circulated proposed Bylaws amendments with the 90 days’ notice, as required by our Bylaws, prior to the Korea World Council. Thus although the topic was fully discussed in Korea – and Karen Flegg (as Chair of Bylaws) fully briefed Council and answered any queries - it was not possible to take a vote on the issue.

One of the proposed amendments, concerning replacement of the YDM representative on Executive in the event of resignation, incapacity or death, was not agreed by Council, who asked that it undergo further revision. This was undertaken by Karen and Ana Nunes Barata (YDM rep on Executive) before the revised proposed amendments were finalised. These were then sent to all MOs on 15th January.

The proposed amendments now need to be voted on, and so an EGM has been set for 27th May (120 days’ notice having been given to Member Organizations) when an electronic vote will take place. MOs will be reminded in advance and then have two weeks to return their vote to the Secretariat after which the result will be formally announced.

Until next month.
Garth Manning. CEO