Doctors reject new pricing guidelines

2012-08-10 14:36

The South African Medical Association (SAMA) has rejected a new set of pricing guidelines for the private healthcare sector published by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).

The guidelines are meant to guide doctors on what they should charge patients for consultation, diagnosis and treatment.

Dr Buyiswa Mjamba-Matshoba, the registrar of the HPCSA, said: “The new guidelines will empower patients to understand what they will be charged for medical and dental procedures and also provide a clear guidance for practitioners so that patients will not be caught unawares with high bills.

“Practitioners need to ensure their patients are fully informed upfront of the fees of their service. However, patients should familiarise themselves with what medical schemes actually cover,” she advised.

However, SAMA, which is a professional association for public and private sector medical practitioners, has rejected the new guidelines saying that they were “unrealistic”.

SAMA spokesperson Mark Sonderup said: “The HPCSA met with us and other stakeholders last year to discuss the guidelines but it appears nothing we said was incorporated in the new guidelines.

“They failed to consider various factors that practitioners use when determining the tariffs including the area they practise in,” he said.

The new guidelines have been in effect for a week.

Some of the prices patients can expect to pay:

» GP consultation: R255

» Completion of chronic medication form: R322

» Pregnancy ultrasound: R444

» Normal delivery and obstetric care from beginning of labour to post-partum: R2 629 plus R351

» Exclusive attendance to a baby after C-section or normal delivery: R496

» Pre-anaesthetic assessment: R240

» C-section and obstetric care from beginning of labour until post-partum: R2 489 plus R351

» For the full story on how the new guidelines will affect patients, doctors and medical schemes, read City Press on Sunday

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