Member and Stakeholder Communication

Promoting ethical and professional Orthotic and Prosthetic service delivery by advancing high standards of patient care.

A message from the NEC …

Dear Orthotic and Prosthetic Profession Colleagues

As you will be fully aware our industry and the health sector as a whole are in turmoil and in constant change and uncertainty abounds.

Our profession, despite the health environment challenges has a number of internal challenges and problems to deal with.

Many changes have occurred within our profession and amongst our professionals during 2020. Likewise, major shifts and changes have been made within our Association and many more shifts are to come.

These shifts/changes are necessary to:

• Create a unified body which will bring about greater representation, cohesion within the profession and far greater inputs and contributions from all
• Ensure greater stability with a more powerful industry representation
• Enable greater focus and outcomes on urgent and strategic projects, i.e. Coding, PMB, RAF, COID, Billing solutions, MOL, Peer review etc
• Improved funding of our Association to hire the legal, coding, and other experts to represent and fight for our profession

For much of this to happen requires complete transparency, participation of all and far far greater representation of our O&P practitioners. This all needs to happen with extreme URGENCY!

A completely new revamped structure needs to be in place to represent our profession. This structure will require channels and bodies to deal with all the major components and complexities of our profession. These structures need to be headed by experienced and knowledgeable individuals from our profession with a dedication, hunger, and lust for success in each portfolio.

The aim is for the executive body to be supported by dedicated focus groups in each area. These focus groups need to comprise experienced as well as inexperienced individuals from across the country, but all will need to have a dedicated and focused work ethic and be willing to serve our fellow practitioners for the greater good and future of our great profession.

Within all these structures there will need to be a clear succession plan so that time and focus is not lost when new boards and bodies are elected/changed.

All the above is really a basic summary of what needs to happen; however, we need the constitution to depict, outline and guide this process. Hence the SAOPA NEC went to great lengths to have the constitution reviewed, updated and circulated to the profession for comment in order to adopt it at the upcoming AGM. A change from a six page document to approximately 34 page document is testimony of this.
Most importantly, we need the support of the vast majority of our profession to achieve these goals.

We are determined to progress with a broad stakeholder and practitioner inclusive approach, and we need input and support for these changes in order that the new structures will address the interests and needs of the majority of our professionals in South Africa.

If we can achieve this, then we will have far greater unity, will have addressed the structural inadequacies of our association, and will have far greater participation which will yield results and move us all forward. All this through greater membership. Our CPO’s will have a home and will be wiling to contribute to an organisation that represents their interests.

Without these changes we will be fragmented, under-resourced and weakened. We will waste significant time and financial resources forming a new association.

Thank you to all SAOPA members that have supported the Association during very trying and frustrating times. To make the changes to move us along with everybody’s inputs your contribution and participation in crafting a unified, transparent and representative professional body is required.

A recent example of collaborative efforts of practitioners working together opposed to against each other is the COID submission that had to be re-worked within an extremely short time of only 2 weeks.

Participation during this process was great and it serves as a demonstration of what can be achieved when all work together towards a common goal. .

Our understanding during engagements with, amongst others, the CPO Forum is that all practitioners have the same or similar challenges and it is not subjected to whether you are a SAOPA member or not.

• We need practitioner input into the structures and invlovement in nominating suitable candidates urgently and hence invite “Forum” participation
• We need to present this structure to the profession
• We need constructive debate and input to modify and fine tune this structure and role players
• We need input of SAOPA members if they would be willing to allow practitioners currently not members of SAOPA to have special membership for the remainder of the year post AGM, i.e. November and December 2020 in order to gain unity and input. A very nominal or token fee will be charged if at all.
• We need to present this during a collective Webinar provisionally schedulled for 14 October 2020 with all practitioners and stakeholders in an inclusive approach and fine tune further post this event.
• Open access for all practitioners to the AGM, all can see the adoption of the new “Association”. Voting will be limited to paid-up SAOPA members in good standing.

Let us stand united as we craft the future of OUR Association.

Yours in professional practice,

SAOPA National Executive Committee