'Dr Death's' accreditation to train students withdrawn in 2014

2015-11-17 05:38
Stellenbosch University. (Photo: Stellenbosch University)

Stellenbosch University. (Photo: Stellenbosch University)

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Cape Town - Dr Wouter Basson’s accreditation by the Stellenbosch University (SU) Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences [FMHS] to train and supervise students was withdrawn in 2014, the university said on Monday.

In a statement, the SU communications department said Basson was “not involved in any capacity in the lecturing or tutoring of students in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences”.

“Dr Basson was never appointed by or employed by the [FMHS] in any capacity. As part of a project in partnership with Medic-Cinic, limited numbers of fourth and fifth-year medical students have, since the beginning of 2014, been able to complete their four-week long internal medicine rotations at Medi-Clinic hospitals, and receive clinical training from private sector doctors.

“The specialists at Medi-Clinic receive accreditation by the [FMHS] to be able to train and supervise students. When the Durbanville Medi-Clinic was accredited as a training site in November 2013, accreditation was also given to a group of doctors to act as clinical supervisors. A group of seven doctors were accredited for a period of three years - from 1 January 2014 to 13 December 2016 - provided, amongst others, that they were registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa [HPCSA] as medical practitioners and specialists.”

According to the university, Basson in his capacity as a private doctor and a cardiologist employed by Medi-Clinic was accredited as a clinical supervisor as part of this group. Basson's contact with students last year was apparently limited to some tutorials on the electrocardiogram.

Basson, nicknamed “Dr Death”, was the apartheid-era head of the chemical and biological warfare project for the South African government. In 2013, he was found guilty on four counts of misconduct by the HPCSA.

“After Dr Basson was found guilty by the HPCSA in December 2013, the [faculty] began the process to withdraw Dr Basson's accreditation. The FMHS is very rigorous in its accreditation process and requests for accreditation have to serve before a number of academic committees before it is tabled before the Faculty Board, a committee made up of all the academics with the rank of associate professor and higher.”

The Faculty Board sits four times a year, the university said, and the same process that was followed with accreditation had to be followed with the request to withdraw Basson's accreditation. 

“The request was tabled at various different academic committees which met on July 21, October 7 and  October 28, 2014. This is part of the normal academic process leading up to the Faculty Board meeting.

“The recommendation that the accreditation be withdrawn was approved by the Faculty Board on 6 November 2014 and a letter was sent to Dr Basson on 24 November 2014 conveying this decision to him.

“Since the decision was conveyed to him, Dr Basson no longer presents any tutorials on ECG to FMHS students in any official capacity.”

According to the university, if Maties students did attend any tutorials given by Basson at the hospital after the withdrawal of his accreditation, this was done “of their own accord and it does not form part of the formal FMHS training”.

No complaints were received from students about tutorials which took place in 2014, nor about any contact with students in 2015, the statement said.

Read more on:    stellenbosch university  |  wouter basson  |  cape town  |  education

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