ANZSOM is a proposed member of HASANZ ... so what is HASANZ?

HASANZ is an “Association of Associations”. Mike Anderson, Past President of ANZSOM was  our official delegate to HASANZ till 2015, sacrificing considerable travel time from the deep south to Wellington every 6 weeks. Now this liaison duty is shared between 3 committee members in rotation.

For more information about HASANZ, see its website.

Here is an update from Craig Smith, Chair of HASANZ.

HASANZ Conference 2016

September 7 – 9, Te Papa Wellington, in conjunction with the ANZSOM(NZ) conference. Click this link for details.

Proposed HASANZ Register of professionals

The ANZSOM committee needs feedback from our doctor members regarding the proposed HASANZ Register of OH & S consultants. ANZSOM is a Foundation Member of HASANZ, and it is clear that the committee will need to make some decisions on behalf of our members quite soon. The Register is due to go live in about March 2016, and there is preparatory work to do in the next month or two. Here are some thoughts. I have tried to encapsulate views expressed by committee members, but I hope they will chip in if any detail seems to need clarification.

BACKGROUND

In the lead up to the new Act, HASANZ is increasingly fielding enquiries from the public and from businesses about various aspects of occupational health and safety. There is little doubt that the HASANZ website is gaining prominence, and thanks to ongoing publicity it has the potential to become an important source of inquiries relevant to ANZSOM members, and also an important source of guidance for the public and businesses needing a medical consultant.

The market for Health & Safety (perhaps particularly Safety) professionals has been loosely controlled in the past, with customers confused about who is suitably qualified and experienced. This confusion has also existed in the field of occupational medicine, aggravated by the Medical Council’s move in the early 1990s to discontinue listing doctor’s diplomas, and to drop the title of Specialist. It may yet be some years before MCNZ fully counteracts the effects of that decision, so meanwhile in 2013 ANZSOM introduced its ‘Find a Consultant’ web page, which tries to make it clearer to the outsider what levels of expertise exist in this area. I look on this as a public service, improving transparency.

The intention of the HASANZ Register is to provide an enhanced level of consistency and standardisation over the wider H & S market. It will be more sophisticated than ANZSOM’s ‘Find a Consultant’ system, and has the potential to enhance the credibility of those who manage to be listed on it.

STRUCTURE OF THE HASANZ REGISTER

Each listing will feature a set of three blocks of information, and there is even provision for inserting a logo. The individual consultant will have direct access to the block #1, so that they can directly update their contact details from time to time (a useful feature, saving the Society effort). Blocks #2 and #3 will be submitted to the Society committee in the first instance, for their approval (ensuring that it complies with standards set by the committee), and any future amendments will also have to be cleared by the committee.

LEVELS OF EXPERTISE, & STANDARDS FOR THESE

It is expected that each HASANZ member society will set standards and run a system of vetting the parts of each consultant’s listing that describe qualifications, experience and services provided. At present, that is more than is done on the ANZSOM website. At present ANZSOM has three tiers of listings, but the only vetting (done by the Webmaster) is to confirm the specialist level and the diploma level by sighting relevant documents. The basic level (the equivalent of MB CHB) is really only checked when a doctor first joins ANZSOM.

BACKGROUND GUIDANCE INFORMATION

For such a system to work, the HASANZ website will require descriptive text to guide the Inquirer, and ANZSOM will need to assist with this. It is recognised that an enquirer may not realise exactly what it is that they need, so this guidance needs to be carefully fashioned. We must consider whether we should duplicate ANZSOM’s present 3-tier system via the HASANZ Register, or modify this. It is relatively easy to set standards, and explain these, for the red and blue categories (specialist and diplomate). But it may be somewhat more difficult to explain and to set standards for the black category, which may have to be dropped.

COST

Societies will collect a fee from each member who is to be listed, and pass this on to HASANZ. At present $100 per annum is the figure being considered by HASANZ. ANZSOM will need to consider and set its standards for listings over the next couple of months, and advise our members. At the October HASANZ meeting, the point was made that individual societies might choose (a) to pass on the whole $100 to the individual, (b) to subsidise the cost, or even (c) to charge slightly more to cover whatever costs the society may incur. Committee discussion so far appears not in favour of a subsidy, as many members do not use ‘Find a Consultant’ because their type of work does not require a listing. We only have about a dozen members listed in ‘Find a Consultant’, about 1/5 of our membership (some have dropped off because their subscription has lapsed). Once members see the new HASANZ Register working, there may be greater uptake than on the ANZSOM website, because members will see the advantage of the credibility of the system and of its visibility to the outside world.

THE FUTURE OF ‘FIND-A-CONSULTANT’

At the end of 2015 the committee considered continuing our “Find a Consultant” system, and having the HASANZ website link to this at perhaps a reduced HASANZ fee per member listed. But now that the above more sophisticated features have been clarified, that seems no longer a viable option. To upgrade “Find a Consultant” to a standard matching the HASANZ proposal would incur costs and be unnecessary duplication of systems. So the “Find a Consultant” page looks like being dropped and replaced by the HASANZ Register in 2016.

CONCLUSION

We need your opinions and questions please, on these points, so please go to the ANZSOM Forum and make a comment there so we can discuss this openly amongst members in something approaching ‘real time’…