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HPCSA plagued by mismanagement, unfairly punishing doctors

Neelam Rahim |

3-minute read
23 August 2023 | 20:23 CAT

The South African Medical Association (Sama) accuses consecutive health ministers, including the incumbent Joe Phaahla, of ignoring the findings of a 2015 report against the HPCSA. Alfonso Nqunjana/News24

The Competition Commission has confirmed that for 12 years, illegal and anti-competitive behaviour has engulfed the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA).

Moreover, the SA Medical Association (SAMA) has accused the National Health Department of not implementing an October 2015 report that found that the statutory body was rife with mismanagement and maladministration.

The illegality at the HPCSA followed the Competition Commission’s 2011 rejection of the council’s application to exempt ten ethical rules that were found to contravene the Competition Act. However, the HPCSA has continued to punish health workers, mainly doctors, with fines of up to R60,000 for practitioners who have breached the council’s unlawful regulations.

According to SAMA chairperson Dr Mvuyisi Mzukwa, former health ministers Aaron Motsoaledi and Zweli Mkhize and current Health Minister Joe Phaahla ignored his association’s repeated pleas to implement the October 2015 report.

The Health Professions Council of South Africa is a statutory body established in terms of the Health Professions Act and is committed to protecting the public and guiding the professions.

Competition Commission spokesperson Siya Makhunga told News24 that the HPCSA was still implementing its anti-competitive rules that breach the Competition Act, saying the commission had tried since 2011 to “facilitate the amendment of the [regulations] to achieve competitive outcomes”.

Makhunga said: “The engagements were still ongoing when a new process through the Health Market Inquiry was launched in 2013 to fully examine the competition issues in the private health sector as a whole, including regulatory issues such as the HPCSA ethical rules.”

According to the NHI Bill that the National Assembly passed in June, the council will be responsible for registering and accrediting all health workers should the single-fund system be enacted.

Health workers, who will be central to the NHI’s implementation, have faced punitive fines for charges sanctioned by Khumalo on rules found to be unlawful.

Listen to the full interview on Sabahul Muslim with Moulana Sulaimaan Ravat.


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