200 doctors found guilty of misconduct
by Sipokazi Fokazi, Investigative Reporter, Independent Online News
Cape Town – Medical aid fraud, theft and shoddy treatment of patients seem to be on the increase among doctors, if the Health Professions Council of South Africa’s misconduct figures are anything to go by.
The council said that of about 3 000 complaints received in a 12-months period, almost 120 had been referred to the police for investigation as the practitioners involved were not registered with the body.
Of about 1,830 cases it considered, it finalized 734 during the financial year.
It found about 200 doctors guilty of misconduct.
More than 400 complaints were referred to the Office of the Ombudsman for mediation, while 200 cases were referred to the council’s Professional Conduct Committee.
- > 49 doctors were found guilty of theft and fraud
- > 41 doctors were found guilty of providing insufficient treatment and of mismanagement of patients
- > At least 30 doctors were penalized for overcharging their patients or charging for services not rendered
- > 15 were found to have been negligent
- > A further 15 were found to have brought their professions into disrepute
Council spokeswoman Lize Nel expressed concern about the increase in the number of fraudulent claims for money – many of them from medical aids – that were made by doctors. “Not only is committing fraud strictly against the council’s good practice guidelines, but it is a criminal offense.”
She said South African doctors continued to rank among the best in the world, “which is why they are so esteemed and in such demand around the globe”.
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Yes, South Africa does indeed generate some of the finest physicians in the world:
But in order to quality among the finest health care ‘systems’ on earth, society must have a fair and effective way to weed out the miscreants.
Let us hope for the sake of South Africans that their Health Professions Council is considerably better at taking out the trash, than their American counterparts are.
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