On Sunday, 8th November 2015, the SBMS held it Annual General Meeting at College Court Hotel and Conference Centre in Leicester. This was a great opportunity for the Members to find out about the work that has been done over the past twelve months, and to hear about the plans and challenges ahead of our Society.
After a short introduction from Dr Molham Entabi, the SBMS General Secretary, Dr Ayman Jundi, SBMS President, gave an overview of last year’s achievements, and briefly set out the plans for the coming year.
Dr Nizar Hammodeh, the SBMS Treasurer, presented the Financial Report, and spoke about the Society’s financial position. He then presented the report of the Joint Medical Committee, which he chairs. He elabnorated on the role of the SBMS in overseeing medical relief work inside Syria, confirming that we co-ordinated the distribution of over $222,000 in the past twelve months, on top of all the existing projects that the SBMS runs in collaboration with the Charity Syria Relief.
Following that impressive report, Dr Hassan Dibs Wazeit, SBMS Membership Officer, took to the stand to present the Membership Report, highlighting the great work done to increase the appeal of the SBMS and to widen its Membership. He reported that we now have 169 Members, compared to around 120 last year, stressing that we now have more accurate information about our Membership, and have better means to communicate with them. He outlined plans to expand Membership further, and a lively discussion took place to explore ways for reaching out to colleagues who have not yet joined our Society.
Dr Asaad Alasaad, the SBMS Trainees Liaison Officer, then gave a detailed report on the work of the Training and Courses Committee, giving an ambitious and exciting projection for plans to run courses in the UK and in Turkey to train colleagues in Syria.
After a short break, the Meeting reconvened to hear about the initiative that was recently launched by the SBMS to provide support for Refugee Health Professionals (RHPs). Dr Jundi called for co-operation with existing organisations helping RHPs, and asked for SBMS Members to offer such organisations the support they need, by offering Clinical Attachements and Clinical Placements to RHPs, and to provide teaching on courses, as well as Mentorship and Supervision to help RHPs through the process of integration.
Dr Jundi proposed the esablishment of a “Professional Support Fund”. It was proposed that each Full Member should contribute £10 per month towards setting up the Fund, which will offer long-term interest-free laons to RHPs and newly arriving health professionals to help them with the cost of courses and exams, a move that was enthusiastically welcomed by the Meeting.
We then made contact, via Skype, with Dr Zeidoun Alzoubi, CEO of UOSSM International (Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations), to hear about the magnificent work of this organisation, and the contributions of SBMS in its vital activities.
It is worth noting that the SBMS is a Founding Member of UOSSM, and that we contribute $5,500 a month to its funds. The current President of the Organisation is none other than our immediate-past President, Dr Ghanem Tayara, and a number of our Members and Council Officers hold key positions on its Board and its various Committees. These include Dr Nizar Hammodeh, who is a Board Member and chairs the Hospitals and Trauma Committee, Dr Redwan El-Khayat who chairs the Mental Health Committee, Dr Abdullah Mawas who sits on the Primary Healthcare Committee, Dr Ammar Darwish who sits on the Hospitals and Trauma Committee, as well as Dr Ayman Jundi who is a Board Member.
Following that, the Meeting went on to discuss the proposed amendments of the Society’s By-Laws. The lively and immensely productive discussions that followed resulted in important changes to the existing By-Laws, which will, undoubtedly help move the Society forward, and allow it to operate effectively and productively in the years to come.
Here is an outline of some of the important changes
- A pargraph should be added to our Mission Statement, giving the Society the authority to lobby Governments and other bodies and agencies to foster support for our mission and objectives.
- Reducing the number of Coucil Officers to 7.
- Full Members must be normally resident in the UK, and that timely payment of fees is a prerequisite to maintain Membership.
- Membership fees will be reviewed every two years. It was agreed to raise Full Membership fees to £75 annually. Members are strongly encouraged to set up Standing Orders, to reduce the administrative burden on the Membership Officer.
- New Members will be given a one-year free Membership, as Associate Members. Those eligible to Full Membership can proceed to Full Membership if they pay the Membership Fee.
- Introduction of e-mail voting for matters occuring between two AGMs, such as By-Elections. Voting on matters discussed at an AGM is only allowed by Full Members in attendance, or by the existing “Proxy Vote” system.
This AGM was a significant milestone in the development of our Society. It demonstrated the level of maturity that the Society has achieved, and established the SBMS as a professional organisation that can conduct its business in an atmosphere of cordial professionalism, mutual respect, and appreciation of the challenges ahead.
We would like to thank the two sponsors, NHS Professionals and Storz for their kind support.