‘Fake doctor’ worry in Durban

2012-10-18 00:00

A DURBAN woman who has only completed a four-week basic ambulance assistant’s course is masquerading as a doctor and offering medical training courses.

The matter was reported to the police last month but, with no action taken, the Health Professions Council of South Africa descended on the 41-year-old woman’s rooms in the CBD yesterday, hoping to confront her about her practice.

After waiting hours for her to emerge from her consulting room, the four officials left exasperated — and empty-handed.

“We were not able to conduct a meeting with the owner of the business. We have to rely on the police to undertake their functions and close down her practice as soon as possible,” said the chairperson of the Professional Board of Emergency Care, Praveen Naidoo. The council’s legal services officer, Nkagisange Madube, said they lodged a complaint with police on September 20.

Their records show the woman obtained a Basic Ambulance Assistant qualification in 2001.

Naidoo said they took issue with the woman for:

•  masquerading as a doctor — she uses the title on marketing literature and business cards, and it appears on certificates adorning her reception wall;

• offering medical care way beyond her qualifications — some of the services include tests for cancer, pregnancy and liver problems;

• running training courses through her business which she is not accredited to do; and

• outsourcing more complicated training to other service providers and taking a commission, which the council said was illegal.

Naidoo said they were concerned the woman was putting people’s lives at risk while charging job seekers up to R8 000 a course for qualifications that were unrecognised.

“We need to protect the public who are being misled. We would like to see the full extent of the law being applied.”

The council cited the Nursing Act and various offences in the legislation that could see the woman spend up to five years in jail.

There is no clarity how long she has been running her business.

Police were asked to comment on the status of their investigation, and to clarify the nature of the complaint, but there was no response by last night.

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