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13 June 2013

HPCSA condemns exploitation of RWOPS

The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has condemned the practice by some doctors to exploit the RWOPS (Remunerative Work Outside Public Service) programme.

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The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has condemned the practice by some doctors to exploit the RWOPS (Remunerative Work Outside Public Service) programme to the extent that patients are being neglected.

The RWOPS programme is allowed by government and is a policy allowing practitioners in full-time public service to earn extra income in the private sector.

However, it has come to our attention that some practitioners are exploiting the system, leaving patients in public health facilities unattended while they spend the time caring for patients in their private practices, effectively robbing the state of services to be rendered. 

While the programme serves a strong purpose in ensuring quality healthcare in the public sector, the state, provinces and hospitals have a challenge in monitoring its implementation. 

“The HPCSA is concerned about the abuse of this system and the unintended consequence for patients,” Dr Buyiswa Mjamba-Matshoba, HPCSA Registrar and CEO said.

Reminder not to leave patients unattended

“We would like to remind practitioners that it is unethical to leave patients unattended.  According to the code of conduct, a healthcare practitioner cannot abandon a patient.  If this is the case, unprofessional conduct needs to be reported to HPCSA for further investigation.”

The HPCSA would like to further thank those practitioners who selflessly give up their time and remain committed to all their patients in both the public service and private practice. 

“We know not everybody is abusing the system, and we are extremely grateful to those who offer up their time to ensure quality patient care is a priority.

“But for those who are abusing the system, we urge them to rethink and not to bring the profession into disrepute. There are far-reaching consequences emanating from these unacceptable practices and we urge practitioners to remember the code of conduct they have signed.”

The HPCSA has further decided to contact the National Department of Health to address these “unintended consequences” of this practice because it exposes public sector patients to poor healthcare. 

The HPCSA will continue to act in accordance with its mandate, and as expected, to make recommendations to the Minister of Health on matters that pertain to public health interest, in terms of Section 13 of the HPCSA Act.

 

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