21 October 2008

ARV doc wins case against health dept

A Mpumalanga doctor who was fired for prescribing antiretroviral drugs won his case in the Labour Court on Tuesday.

A Mpumalanga doctor who was fired for prescribing antiretroviral drugs won his case in the Labour Court on Tuesday.

Dr Malcolm Naude successfully challenged his dismissal by the Mpumalanga health department in 2001 in the Johannesburg Labour Court, said Aids Law Project spokesman Mark Heywood.

"The order was in favour of Dr Naude. It found that he had been unfairly dismissed. It compensated him to the tune of R100 000 and it awarded costs to us," said Heywood.

He was dismissed from Nelspruit's Rob Ferreira Hospital after prescribing antiretroviral treatment to rape survivors despite the health department trying to prevent him from doing that.

Ruling a 'strong statement'
"We are very, very happy," said Heywood. "This case has been going on for seven years. It is an unfortunate and tragic case. Dr Naude is very pleased and satisfied. It is a final strong statement in favour of doctors who practise ethical medicine [amid] interference from politicians."

Naude and other doctors who continued to prescribe the drugs argued that the department's actions were "unwarranted interference in the exercise of their professional discretion in making clinical and ethical decisions in the care and treatment of patients".

In February 2001 the department ordered the greater Nelspruit rape intervention project (Grip) to vacate its offices at the hospital. Grip opposed the move in court, supported by an affidavit by Naude. It was after this that Naude's services were terminated, prompting him to take the matter to the Labour Court. – (Sapa, October 2008)

Read more:
Fired over ARVs?


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Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria in 2005. She is a patients' rights activist and loves using social media to teach about HIV. She is in private practice in Johannesburg.

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