31st May 2019

Update from President Paul Sidhu

To give you a little background EFSUMB was founded in 1972 on the principle of independent national societies forming a federation to promote research and interdisciplinary collaboration in the field of ultrasound. This principle extended to representation within the World Federation of Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology (WFUMB), as an integral part of the EFSUMB constitution.

The administrative work of EFSUMB was established in the UK due to favourable setting for Charities. This base has served EFSUMB well, and the Society is currently in a stable financial position. However due to events outside its control EFSUMB is currently facing a considerable amount of change and uncertainty; these challenges facing EFSUMB could see its dissolution. I think we can all agree that the existence of EFSUMB is essential given the role on the international stage of ultrasound and the pivotal influence we have on the global practice of ultrasound.


BMUS is currently one of 29 national societies that form EFSUMB and, as a member of BMUS, each individual member is automatically a member of EFSUMB as the membership fee paid by BMUS is based on current membership levels.  The policy of all members of the national society being members of EFSUMB had obvious advantages in 1972 when the practice of ultrasound was limited. This is very different today with millions of ultrasound users, in many areas of medicine.

A recent decision in Switzerland has bought into sharp focus the need to look at our governance arrangements. The Ultrasound Society of Switzerland (SGUM), a founder member of EFSUMB, had a process imposed on the society by external governmental policy. This policy obliged SGUM members to declare they wished to be members of EFSUMB and not by default as is currently the case.  This resulted in only 16% of SGUM members choosing to remain as members of EFSUMB.  This has created a constitutional crisis for EFSUMB, as according to the constitution SGUM could no longer be a representative society as not all their members wished to be members of EFSUMB.  This means that SGUM would cease to be an EFSUMB member society and have no voting rights. This is because the EFSUMB constitution, states that ‘if any country had 6 members or more, they have to form a national society, and apply to EFSUMB as a national body.’ However, the constitution only allows for a single member national society and those Swiss members wishing to remain as a member of EFSUMB would now have no way of being admitted into EFSUMB membership.

However, it is also pertinent that many members of SGUM have chosen not to continue membership, and this situation may be repeated with other national societies if obliged to follow local laws and procedures. In addition to this the German society, DEGUM, the largest component society of EFSUMB, have indicated that they too find the model of national society membership with full declaration of members unsatisfactory.

EFSUMB is a society for those using ultrasound and not the property of the Executive Board (ExB) or any other committee and should be run at the bequest of members.  There must be action to make EFSUMB an attractive society based on the founding principles to promote ultrasound. That EFSUMB does good work is not disputable; the website, the EUROSON Schools, the guidelines and statements, and most importantly an almost unique position and authority on the safety of ultrasound. What EFSUMB has not done is to promote this good work to its very own members! This was realised with the low ‘re-joining’ from SGUM and the disquiet within DEGUM.

In order to get a better idea of the current climate and future direction, the ExB has commissioned two tasks; an online member survey and a Task Force Group, to have visualisation of members feelings and to implement an overhaul of the structure and forward direction of the society.

We had a limited response to the survey, but several themes have emerged, many known from recent events, and others not so apparent. One strong theme is communication to the members from the ExB, and another is to clearly depict the finances; it was a common misconception that money was spent on unnecessary travel which is firmly not true; the accounts are very clear on this.

The task group has met and made recommendations and some areas of interest to look at to begin the process of change.

  • The website, currently ‘free’ to all will be changed to have member only areas.
  • The possibility of individual members will be addressed;
  • The position of more than one national society will also be addressed. A particular issue with the smaller societies was representation on the various committees and the ExB, which they see dominated by the countries favoured by the voting system that prevails in the society; the block voting denies representation to smaller societies.
  • A rotating EUROSON Congress was seen to be outdated.
  • There was no place in the society for sections of ultrasound practitioners in gynaecology.
  • The interests of general practitioners in clinical ultrasound was not represented adequately in the activities and structures of EFSUMB.

It is evident change is needed in the best direction for as many as possible.

To this effect, the ExB in collaboration with the Task Force Group will present constitutional change to the Board of Delegates in Granada at the EUROSON Congress, and if passed will seek to implement change immediately thereafter.

I will bring you the results of this change shortly following the congress with a view to hopefully starting a new chapter for EFSUMB.

Paul Sidhu

President of EFSUMB

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