R1m for patient rights campaign

2012-03-19 14:32

The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) will spend almost R1 million educating patients about the rights and responsibilities in the next few weeks, it announced today.

The massive educational campaign comes in the wake of the City Press expose which revealed that the number of doctors who are accused of having sexual relationship with patients, incompetence, negligence and submitting fraudulent claims to medical aids is on the rise.

The report showed that complaints lodged against medical professionals increased from 2 000 to nearly 3 000 in the past three years. This while many transgressions go unreported.

Launching the campaign today in Pretoria, acting HPCSA registrar and CEO Dr Kgosi Letlape said: “Patients often do not know the full extent of their own rights and responsibilities as proclaimed in the Patient’s Rights Charter and as a result not all of them complain when they receive insufficient care.”

Letlape said he expected an increase in the number of complaints to the HPCSA as a result of the campaign as members of the public “become aware of their rights and responsibilities as patients”.

Ideally, Letlape said, “we would prefer to have no complaints against health practitioners but that is not possible because of the inequalities in our society.”

The campaign, which will be aired on radio stations from Wednesday, will coincide with the commemoration of the Human Rights Day and will continue until April.

How to lodge a complaint with the HPCSA

» State clearly that you wish to complain against a healthcare professional and that the HPCSA should investigate your complaint;

» Identify the healthcare professional you are complaining against by including his or her surname, initials, practice address and practice registration number;

» Detail the nature of the complaint, including all relevant dates and facts as well as supporting documentation where available;

» Sign the letter of complaint which should include your full contact details; and
fax it to 012 328 4895 or email it to legalmed@hpcsa.co.za

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