Doctors in trouble over false sick notes

2009-06-15 00:00

DOCTORS who are found guilty of signing fraudulent medical certificates will face severe sanctions, which include being struck off the register, says Bertha Scheepers of the Health Professional Council of South Africa (HPCSA).

It recently emerged that some doctors in Pietermaritzburg are allegedly falsifying medical certificates for a fee of between R100 and R150.

The medical certificates are issued without the patient being examined. And one doctor is alleged to have issued a medical certificate over the phone without even seeing the patient.

Janet Chrystal, who works for the Durand group,said her company has fallen victim to unscrupulous doctors and deceitful employees.

She said many of their employees are bringing in sick notes signed by one such doctor (whose name is known to The Witness).

“We discovered that something was amiss when the date the sick note was signed and the date in which the employee was absent did not correspond,” Chrystal said.

She said the firm decided to send one of its employees to buy the a medical certificate.

“The doctor requested R100 to issue the certificate without any physical examination.”

Chrystal said that after the discovery, the company told employees who have gone to this doctor, that the days they took as sick leave would instead going to be logged as days absent.

Another doctor (whose name is also known to The Witness) admitted, after being cornered by an employer, to signing a medical receipt without examining the patient .

This led to an investigation that resulted in the employee being suspended and the doctor being reported to the HPCSA.

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