PROGRESS REPORT ON FORENSIC PATHOLOGY OFFICERS (FPOs)
The Council concluded Resolution 4 of 2017 regarding the payment of a special allowance and a danger allowance to the employees operating in the forensic pathology services within the health sector. Following the conclusion of this resolution, the Council had since established a national task team which had convened on the following dates respectively:
- 27 November 2018
- 13 December 2018
- 23 January 2019
- 12 February 2019
- 24 April 2019
- 19 July 2019 (Joint ExCo and Task Team Meeting)
The following progress has been registered:
2.1. Development of a Sustainable Model for FPOs
The Employer is in the process of soliciting a mandate regarding its proposed new sustainable model for FPOs to deal with career pathing. The model introduces new grades and notches, to address the prejudice of FPOs who are currently in stagnation.
Parallel to the process of a new sustainable model, is the need to ensure that all FPOs receive equal pay for work of equal value. To that effect, the Employer is busy with the process of standardising job descriptions.
2.2. Registration with a Professional Body — Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA)
As part of professionalising the FPOs, the HPCSA has embarked upon a process of registering the profession and has recommended the following categories and fees:
|Registration Code||Category||Fees 2018/2019|
|FPSL||Forensic Pathology Officer
|FPO||Forensic Pathology Officer||R 710.00|
Services Officer Student
lt was recommended that the annual fees for supplementary FPQOs for 2018 and 2019 should be R 603.00, this is in line with the fees of medical technicians who are on the same salary scale as the FPOs. The annual fees payable by persons registering for the first time, in terms of the Health Professions Act, 1974, would be a pro rata amount © of the applicable annual fee referred to in the schedule; to be calculated according to the month of registration after the due date for payment of annual fees.
2.3. Training and Development
The Council has also prioritised the issue of training. Experts in the FPO environment had made presentations, with regard to the issue of education and training of FPOs. It became apparent in their presentations; however, that very few institutions of higher learning are keen to develop a curriculum for this career, due to the limited number of FPOs in the sector. Consequently, the Council has undertaken to conduct research on the matter. The Council is also considering whether it would be able to enter into strategic partnerships with the Skills and Education Training Authority (SETA) to facilitate the process of developing an accredited training for FPOs.
The Council is also exploring debriefing avenues to ensure the following:
- Compliance with the relevant health and safety legislation
- Debriefing process to be standardised across the country
- Debriefing monitoring mechanisms to be put in place
- Medical surveillance
The Council is looking at the following options:
- A service provider to offer formal debriefing and provide reports on trends and statistics, which would amplify the internal services
- Internal professionals to be appointed
- Training to be made available
- Working group including Employee Health and Wellness Programmes (EHWPs) and experts to be formed for purposes of framework and programme development
- Monitoring and evaluation tool to be developed
- Dedicated budget for the FPOs’ debriefing
2.5. Standardise Service Delivery
There is a need to review the current Forensic Pathology Services delivery model and to standardise the service delivery practice across the country.
The Council has noted outstanding tasks around the following:
- sustainable model in terms of the standardisation of FPO job descriptions (salary levels and notches), job evaluation, salary progression and career progression
- Registration with a professional body – HPCSA
- Training and development
- Standardised service delivery model
- Standardization of protective clothing
The Council appreciates the patience and understanding of all stakeholders, in particular the FPOs. The Council is cautious of the urgency of the matter and is doing everything in its power to expedite the process and find a long-lasting solution to the plight of the FPOs.
Mr Mpumelelo Sibiya
Date: 31 July 2019