Dear EPASSA members
The EPASSA Exco is acutely aware that this is a particularly challenging and anxious time for the South African society, and we are all seeing and experiencing the ramifications of this in our personal and professional lives. The EPASSA committee is particularly mindful of those mental healthcare workers who are continuing to provide services in clinics and public arenas. We have also been made aware of the many initiatives and calls for pro bono services for essential service workers in the South African community.
Since the lockdown many of our members have also been faced with the challenge of shifting our work to alternative platforms (which brings its own challenges) and many practices have reduced extensively resulting in extreme anxiety for ourselves and the people we work with. To add to all of this, many of the medical aids have introduced the added stressor of publishing or highlighting significantly reduced rates for telehealth. Members of our committee have already met with Discovery Health and achieved some concessions. We will be meeting with Discovery again to continue this discussion. In the interim, other medical aids, such as Medscheme, have also published significantly reduced rates for telemedicine that do not distinguish between types of medical services offered. They too will have to be challenged.
On a more positive note, this week EPASSA received the attached communication from RELPAG in which the CMS states that the Scope of Practice is no longer valid and medical aids must refer to the 2008 Scope of Profession, which does not allow for discrimination between scopes of practice. EPASSA is meeting with our attorneys on Wednesday to develop our strategy going forward.
In our attempt to address the needs of the public and provide our membership with support, the EPASSA committee has been working in the background addressing queries regarding a multitude of changes resulting from the lockdown. Many of these issues relate to the impact of this lockdown on children in terms of their anxieties, their education, and other matters, such as access to parents for children from divorced homes. We have received several queries about the practice of working with children online. This is a very complex arena to negotiate with a multitude of potential stumbling blocks. One of our committee members kindly offered to share her knowledge and guidelines in terms of the way she works. Attached you will find these guidelines in terms of how she works with children and manages the therapeutic relationship with the child and parents. The British Association of Child Psychotherapists has also published very useful guidelines on working with children remotely:
As a move towards developing some community and professional support, EPASSA invites all of our members to attend a group meeting on ZOOM. Initially we had hope to convene the meeting one evening this week, but this has been difficult to achieve with Pesach and Easter. We will therefore be holding the meeting on ZOOM between 15h00 and 17h00 next Tuesday 14th April. The purpose of this meeting will be to firstly provide some direct feedback regarding current issues, but most importantly we hope to create an open, supportive and collegial space for our members to meet, gain support and speak about their experiences during the isolating times. Below is the ZOOM invitation. We are aware that this may be a new platform for many of our members, so we have kept it as simple as possibly. All you need to do is click on the link below (Join ZOOM Meeting) and the ZOOM app will guide you through the process.
We look forward to seeing you all at the meeting
Vanessa Gaydon is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: EPASSA Membership Meeting
Time: Apr 14, 2020 03:00 PM Johannesburg
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 220 459 043
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