Update on your society’s activities since Port Elizabeth ASSA/SAGES

Dear Membership

As we have entered the final quarter of 2017 it is fitting that you, the Membership, have an update on what your Society – SASES is doing for you and for endoscopic surgery.

  1. Fellowships

The Fellowships for the current year have been awarded.  The fellows are either in the process of leaving or have left for Germany, Amsterdam or Belgium.  The new Fellowships will be advertised in January 2018 together with the two HIG Fellowships.

We as an Exco get feedback about the adjudication process in awarding Fellowships.  Martin Brand – Exco member in charge of Fellowships – and I met with the member who had concerns and it has been a learning process for both parties.  We will look at a few aspects of the adjudications system and I think the member who brought these concerns to our attention – for which we are really grateful – is reassured that the system is a well run system.

  1. Interaction with Medical Aids

The laparoscopic appendectomy evaluation process is ongoing with Medscheme.  Medscheme have approached us for the practice numbers and names of our members – it might well be that based on the results to date they will limit the laparoscopic appendectomies to SASES and Surgicom members only – another good reason to be a member of this Society.

  1. Development of Minimal Access Surgery on the Academic Front

The Fellowship which has been run by Prof Zach Koto at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University is now into its third round.  The Fellowship has now been recognised by the College of Surgeons and will probably become a formal Fellowship to which we hope to attach bariatric surgery.

We were approached by individual members of the Society as to the future of bariatric surgery as well as concern from industry.  The concerns were that there are two few bariatric surgeries being done per year for the population size in South Africa and its needs.  One recognises that bariatric surgery is possibly no longer the right term and one should refer to metabolic surgery.  Because of these concerns the following has happened:

  • A start-up meeting with the Heads of Department, Zach Koto and myself at the start of the recent ASSA/SAGES meeting in Port Elizabeth.
  • A meeting with Industry in Johannesburg this Wednesday evening with Prof Zach Koto and myself.
  1. Professor Zach Koto

It gives me great pleasure to announce to the Membership that Zach Koto, a valued member of the SASES Exco and a driving force behind the MAS Fellowship and bariatric surgery’s re-evaluation has very deservedly been elected to the position of President of the College of Surgeons, South Africa – Zach, on behalf of all the Membership a heartfelt congratulations on this well deserved post.

  1. Stand Alone Meeting 2018

You the Membership had requested a Stand Alone meeting for 2018 – the thinking was to use the same venue because of the success we have had to date.  At the completion of the ASSA/SAGES meeting Denise Kemp and I wrote to all the sponsors who have supported us through the last two meetings to gauge their enthusiasm as well as discuss the choice of venue.

Their enthusiasm was overwhelming; the choice of venue however is proving problematic because of the European guidelines on corporate spending.  At the Exco meeting on 29 October 2017 we will debate whether to move ahead and see if there is enough support from the companies not aligned to the European chapter or whether a whole new venue needs to be looked at or combining with SAGES in Johannesburg next year.

  1. The Red Cross Training Centre

On a personal note I was fortunate enough to attend the 2 day Tim Rockall cadaver workshop at the Red Cross Children’s Training Centre on 14‑15 September 2017.  The course was over subscribed.  One left that course realising that the Centre offers world class courses in a first world centre in our very own country with delegates attending it not only from South Africa but also from Namibia.

Having now attended two courses at the Red Cross Children’s Training Centre in this calendar year I can only but encourage the Membership, old and young, advanced and starting in their laparoscopic career to attend these courses as it is only when you leave this course that you realise how much each one of us still has to and can learn on an individual basis.  The courses are a master class, the facility is superb and it really is for our Membership to appreciate what they have on their own doorstep and to use it.

  1. Interaction with Industry

As of this year we have introduced a system where the leaders of the large pharmaceutical groups are given an opportunity to join us at Exco for an hour on a Sunday morning (hard bench) to discuss their plans going forward re education and training and to discuss with us concerns and hear our concerns.  To date we have met with Leanne Wood from J&J in February 2017; Colin Atkinson from Medtronic in May 2017 and we will be meeting with Stacey Meyer the new general manager of J&J at our Exco on 29 October 2017.  These meetings certainly are very beneficial.  It takes away the marketing aspect and brings it down to a working meeting as we realise as an Exco we are very dependent on industry for financial support with training and they benefit from the direct one on one feedback with Exco who after all represents the endoscopic surgeons.

  1. Exco Elections

A reminder that 2018 will be a voting year.  If you feel that you would like to contribute to the Society by getting onto Exco please make sure that you do attend the AGM – venue still to be announced – towards the end of 2018 and become an active member of this dynamic Society as it moves forward into the next decade.

Wishing you all well.

Yours sincerely

Dick Brombacher



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