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