Eastern Cape doctors coining it in private

2011-08-26 09:51

Johannesburg - Eastern Cape doctors have been ordered to stop attending to their private practices while on the government's clock, the Dispatch Online reported on Friday.

Doctors were neglecting their core duties at hospitals and clinics while making money on the side, provincial health superintendent general Siva Pillay said.

He said that more than 40% of all state specialists were attending to private work in the province.

A survey by the department found that two specialists claimed R781 000 and R421 000 from medical aids for work done between January and June.

The survey, focused on Mthatha, found that specialists billed medical aids R8m in that period.

"It is crazy. They are supposed to be on site, working for the department but instead they are treating private patients," Pillay said.

"What happens during a medical emergency?"

The department would not lay charges against offenders but amend the policy dictating remunerated work outside the public service.

"We are amending it, making it stricter. Priority will be given to the government from now on," he said.

  • Nipcat - 2011-08-26 10:00

    Don't doctors have to have practice numbers to be paid by medical aids. How can they have this number if they are working for the government. When there is a way to scam the system, people will find it.

      DeonL - 2011-08-26 10:11

      You can have a Dr. practice number while working in Gov., but it is unethical to work on your own practice during times you should be at a state hospital. These doctors should resign or sell theire practice or at least get a full time locum.

      daaivark - 2011-08-26 10:12

      Many doctors quite legitimately have private practices as well as working for the state. They just aren't supposed to do their private work whilst on duty at state institutions.

      tkotze - 2011-08-26 11:14

      Since it is the practice that claims, could it not be that the doctor who owns the practice is not the ones who actually saw people at the practice and it is run as a separate business? Just wondering...

      Solo-JHB - 2011-08-26 12:27

      Most specialists work in private and government hospitals. It just needs to be scheduled and monitored properly. The last thing you want is doctors leaving the state hospitals and going full time private!

  • wv - 2011-08-26 10:11

    They are just joining the colleagues in parliament.

      Felix - 2011-08-26 10:17


      2nd coming - 2011-08-26 11:02

      That's not true, their colleagues in parliament never work while on government pay

  • daaivark - 2011-08-26 10:14

    Trust me I'm a doctor. Yeah right. So stealing from the state, eh doc. Who do you think you are? A Minister? President? Know your place.

  • Pictureof - 2011-08-26 10:19

    As a GP you can get two numbers. The MP is the legal number,you may not practice without it, and the BHF, which is not statutory, but neccessary if you wish to claim from a Private Medical Aid. Therefore anyone Medical person can carry both numbers. The laws are relaxed as Qualified proffessionals should know better and have ethics.

  • ron.lawrance - 2011-08-26 10:28

    That will figure. Anyway they can get some wealth out of the system they will. It is felt they are owed this because of the apartheid regime. They don't worry about medical aids because they are paid cash from their patients and don't even need to declare it to SARS.

  • Bill - 2011-08-26 10:33

    Medical costs are increasing out of all proportion to inflation and any other economic indicator. Doctors greed is but one of the reasons. Recently I spent time in hospital, my own Physician charged R230 per visit, and would spend 5 to 15 minutes checking everything. He took the weekend off, the locum charged R480 for two visits to the ward. During these visits she did not speak to me and spent less than 2 minutes flipping through my file. Gave no instructions and left te ward without a word to anyone. Nice job if you can get it!

      Bill - 2011-08-26 10:34

      That was R480 PER VISIT, R960 for perhaps 4 minutes in the ward.

      Proefleser - 2011-08-26 10:46

      Bill - You can get the job if you're prepared to study for many, many years and spend near to a fortune on university fees. Then you must also face the fact that anyone of your patients can (and will, given half a chance) sue you for millions, so you have to pay thousands a month for insurance.

      DeonL - 2011-08-26 11:06

      Most Specialist charges R450 up to R1 000 per visit. For about 10 years study this is not too high. Some GP's also charges around R200 up to R600 depending on where they work.

      Worker - 2011-08-26 13:31

      In reply to Proefleser : very few doctors have ever been sued in SA, most people cannot afford to sue them, even when they should.

      paulmandlankosi - 2011-08-26 14:53

      I am not greedy, I charge what I deserve. The cost of running a private practice are also very high

      Proefleser - 2011-08-26 14:54

      Worker, even if that were true, 'malpractice' insurance premiums have skyrocketed and have to be paid, regardless.

  • Fredster69 - 2011-08-26 10:43

    Fire them

      B - 2011-08-26 13:24

      Sure fire them...And then what does the state have left? They need to properly schedule their rotations. So when their OFF they can work in their private practice or do what ever they want. Just like any other person.

  • tailormade - 2011-08-26 10:46

    If any of these doctors worked at their private practices while they were supposed to be at the state clinic, then they are eligible to be charged by the HPCSA and scrapped from the medical roll. This type of behaviour by a medical professional is unethical and deserves punishment.

      Solo-JHB - 2011-08-26 12:29

      Most specialists work in private and government hospitals. It just needs to be scheduled and monitored properly. The last thing you want is doctors leaving the state hospitals and going full time private!

  • bosegoos - 2011-08-26 10:50

    Moonlighting by state professionals is rife. The only way, I think, to combat this, is to stop the practice of earning money both ways. Work ethics has always been a problem in this country and as long as the current regime sets the pace, this will continue and escalate. Although I am sceptic that the proposed National Health Insurance Scheme will put a stop to this, I can only hope that the architects of this will attempt to address this problem.

      Solo-JHB - 2011-08-26 12:29

      Most specialists work in private and government hospitals. It just needs to be scheduled and monitored properly. The last thing you want is doctors leaving the state hospitals and going full time private!

      KanaMay - 2011-08-26 21:51

      If any of these doctors were earning money while they were supposed to be working at the state clinic / hospital, then that money should be given to the state, with some extra fines for their truancy (spelling?). After those medics keep losing money for their hard work on the side, they will stop the unethical practice. Problem solved, with some extra dough for the Health Department.

  • Virginia - 2011-08-26 11:02

    Is this not because some of these Doctors a badly paid by Govrnment, please correct me if I am wrong. Doctors ar allowed to have a practice, but when they are required to be in the hospitals they should do their time.

  • Currie_Mafia - 2011-08-26 11:07

    All I know is that between the Med. Aids, private hospitals & doctors, we are being screwed....maybe the NHI isn't such a bad idea !!!

      49M - 2011-08-26 13:20

      I'm not sure how you come to that conclusion? Basically this article says that the NHI will put more money into an already inefficient system. Wouldn't it be more appropriate to ask why we are pursuing the NHI and increases in public health when there is such blatant waste and mismanagement? Medicine 101: treat the cause not the symptom. Does the Department of Health honestly believe that putting an R125bn band-aid on this is going to solve the problem?

  • Winsome - 2011-08-26 11:08

    The bottom line here is that these doctors are committing fraud. They are working in their private capacities when they should be on duty at a state hospital - and they are getting paid twice then for that time - once from the state and then from the medical aids - even if they are doctors they should face the consequences of fraud for goodness sake.

      DeonL - 2011-08-26 11:39

      It depends on theire work contracts, some Specialists only work halfday or come in to do ward rounds.

  • Ndlovu - 2011-08-26 11:09

    easy to solve:... compulsory med aid and hospital aid for everybody (EVERYBODY)and compulsory good service at state-driven healt institutes like Clinics and Hospitals.. than no one botters about earning drs.. isn't it?

      daaivark - 2011-08-26 11:11

      I agree.

      Smaal - 2011-08-26 11:21

      That would be nice but European thinking and models in an African state are doomed to fail. It’s a simple question of numbers. It would be great, I think private health care is completely overpriced and is a complete rip-off unfortunately the alternative is to go die in a state hospital and of course pay for luxuries for ANC comrades. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

      Zion - 2011-08-26 16:41

      Come again. did you say state driven. Anything driven by the state is like a minibus with no brakes--bound for disaster.

  • Sherlock - 2011-08-26 11:25

    Public service doctors are not permitted to operate private practices. they are however allowed to perform remunerative work with authority. The DPSA abolished this practice in 1998 and though many years later introduced OSD which revised doctors salaries. These specialists are earning close on to R1 million pa and some exceed that dependind on the OSD grading. at the end of the day its having their bread buttered on both sides and who suffers, the public. Its just pure greed and nothing to do with ethics or the Hippocratic Oath.

      Solo-JHB - 2011-08-26 12:31

      Most specialists work in private and government hospitals. It just needs to be scheduled and monitored properly. The last thing you want is doctors leaving the state hospitals and going full time private!

  • Worker - 2011-08-26 13:25

    Not only the above, but they use state resources to run tests on private patients, and see them at the state hospital for appointments. "Why do they say that doctors are practising ? - 'Cos they are practising on us to find out what works !" In my opinion, and from my experience, doctors generally don't adhere the the hypocratic oath - more the hypcritic one. I have suffered for over 40 years because of a surgeon's mistake, and he was paid well for the "work", and denied a mistake.

  • Worker - 2011-08-26 13:27

    "Find a poor doctor - and you'll probably find a honest one." Anon. Many doctors, I believe from what I've seen, keep two sets of books.

      paulmandlankosi - 2011-08-26 14:57

      Why do I have to study so hard to be poor? Honest yes but not poor and will never be

      sibusiso.mkoko - 2011-11-18 00:06

      a lot of drs are honest, but not a single dr is poor. done!

  • tiron - 2011-08-26 15:04

    They should have a look at Universitas Hospital Bloemfontein! All specialists have private practices next door at Netcare. They are NEVER available to teach registrars or students, nevermind traet patients. AND with the NHI all doctors will do this in future.

  • george60 - 2011-08-30 14:09

    AS long as the naughty doctors pay their private gains into Malema's Trust account.

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