Quality protection with accessible legal support and advice
July Edition 2023
I am delighted to present the latest updates and initiatives from EthiQal. In this newsletter, we aim to highlight some of our ongoing efforts to offer steadfast, comprehensive, reliable and trustworthy support to our doctors. We understand the significance of professionalism and precision in the medical industry, and it is with great pleasure that we bring you the following updates.
EthiQal’s financial results remain pleasing. The operating results are ahead of expectations and the solvency significantly above the statutory capital requirement, confirmed by external actuaries. This is allowing us to continue keeping our clients’ premiums stable and competitive, grow our educational initiatives and invest further in developing the business.
We are actively prioritising being available to you, our clients, and society leadership. With this we have participated at various events in the year to date.
These events provide an exceptional platform for knowledge sharing and relationship building, fostering a mutually beneficial environment. We have exhibited, engaged and presented at the following events:
- UCT Refresher (Western Cape) – 6-10 Feb (EthiQal Exhibited)
- Paediatric Management Group (Western Cape) – 24-26 Feb (Dr Bettina Taylor was invited to speak on medical malpractice insurance)
- South African Menopause Conference (KZN) – 29 March (Alex Brownlee provided EthiQal updates)
- SASUOG (ultrasound in obs and gynae) (Stellenbosch) – 9-12 March (Dr Bettina Taylor shared insights from claim analyses relevant to the audience)
- ISAPS (International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery) (Somerset West) 24-26 March (Dr.Hlombe Makuluma joined a panel to debate medicolegal issues facing aesthetic surgeons)
- Maternal Foetal Specialist CPD talk (Pietermaritzburg) – 3 May (Dr Hlombe Makuluma conducted a CPD talk)
- Ventilation through the Ages (JHB) – 5-7 May (EthiQal exhibited)
- Betterobs (Western Cape) – 13 May (Alex Brownlee provided EthiQal updates)
- SA Association for Paediatric Surgeons (Western Cape) – 4-7 May (EthiQal exhibited)
- SASES (Orthos Elbow and Shoulder) (WC) – 12-14 May (EthiQal exhibited, lawyer JP Ellis conducted a workshop on the 12th)
- Doctors CPD Symposium (JHB) – 20-21 May (EthiQal exhibited)
- SASGO (Gynae oncology) (Stellenbosch) – 19-21 May (EthiQal exhibited, JP Ellis delivered a talk on informed consent)
- Surgicom (Western Cape) – 3-4 June (EthiQal exhibited)
- SASOG CPD event – 13 June (JP Ellis delivered a talk)
- Ethics CPD webinars – 13 and 20 July (EthiQal lawyers Thandi Molaba, Jessica Viljoen and Mashooma Parker on retention of records and treating loved ones).
Many more are planned over the rest of the year.
Actively participating in these events has allowed us to engage directly with you and gain valuable insights.
Look out for our webinar series in the upcoming months where CPD & Ethics points can be earned. We are also embarking on educational sessions at hospitals where your practice management can gain useful information.
SA Law Reform
Our advice to the SALRC on the development of the law relating to culpable homicide was submitted to them on 28 February 2023. A copy of this submission is available on request. This was done in partnership with SAPPF, whom we also supported in their submission. However, law reform may take years to transpire, and this is a key concern amongst the medical fraternity. Thus, we are exploring the development of SAPS and NPA protocols to present and galvanise the industry to help make a marked difference in the shorter term.
New Doctors in Private Practice
Embarking on a new medical practice can be financially challenging, particularly when factoring in medical indemnity premiums without the stability of an established patient base. To assist, EthiQal is pleased to introduce this initiative. For doctors facing potentially high premiums and limited initial income streams, we offer lower premiums during the first year together with cashflow support upfront. Please note that the eligibility and specific premium reductions will be determined by our Risk team on a case-by-case basis, with personalised attention to each situation.
Value-Added Legal Support
EthiQal offers an oft-forgotten value-added service; comprehensive legal support and advice from within EthiQal. Our in-house team of experienced medical and legal professionals is standing by to assess your situation and provide you with appropriate assistance and support. The team can be contacted at email@example.com or call 021 007 4527 or 011 686 4314.
Introducing Practitioner Group Cover
We were delighted to launch the Practitioner Group Cover, a meticulously tailored solution designed specifically for practitioners who work together in a group or entity and employ clinicians. This specialized coverage is formulated to meet the insurance needs of practitioners, in their professional capacity as well as Directors or Partners, and their clinical employees. Importantly, it protects the Directors or Partners from claim demands linked to clinicians that have already left the group. Group Policies are predicted to play an increasingly important role going forward, to keep premiums affordable, to ensure cover for all members of the group, but also to give peace of mind to medical practitioners who act as directors of broad clinical teams.
Informed Consent Video
In response to the common challenge of informed consent, we have created an engaging and informative educational video. In this video, we explore the practical steps to obtain informed consent, including what informed consent is, including the three requirements for obtaining valid consent, and the four steps involved. By delving into these aspects, we aim to enhance your understanding of this important concept.
Remember, informed consent is the cornerstone of ethical practice, promoting respect, autonomy, and transparency in every decision-making process. Our video serves as a valuable resource that can be utilized for sharing knowledge and empowering healthcare professionals to navigate the complexities of the consent process. We encourage you to leverage this video in your efforts to ensure proper patient consent, as it equips you with the tools needed to promote ethical practice and facilitate informed decision-making.
In March I published an article on AI, which has been a hot topic this year following the release of ChatGPT and what I dubbed the arrival of ‘Dr Chatbot’. As the renowned surgeon and writer Dr. Atul Gawande has stated; “The foundation of medicine is built on the trust between a patient and their physician. Without trust, there can be no effective treatment, no genuine healing, and no meaningful progress towards better health.” In a world with Dr. Chatbot, this is no less true, and will no doubt bring some interesting times ahead.
The NHI Bill has been a hot topic in the news over the last few months and will continue to be. Whilst we strongly support the aim of quality universal healthcare, the lack of detail, the unnecessary restrictions within the Bill and the lack of consideration to the submissions from doctors is of concern. We will champion the position of doctors and highlight the medico-legal risks as we navigate the road ahead. And we have no doubt that this road will be a long one yet.
On a positive note, we are again supporting the great cause ‘Operation Healing Hands’ of Dr Basson in July, together with various sponsorships of key society initiatives linked to practitioner training. These include initiatives such as the co-sponsorship of the world class QMP video library of APRASSA, supporting the BetterObs programme of SASOG, the training initiatives of ASSA, etc.
Finally, we are working on some interesting initiatives to support doctors more holistically, but more on this will follow in future correspondence.
Links to Articles of Interest Below
HPCSA Ethical and Good Practice Guidelines