KZN doctors neglecting patients, claims report

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About 101 KwaZulu-Natal doctors have claimed R22 million from a medical aid scheme for private work carried out at a time when they should have been attending to patients in state hospitals, the Sunday Tribune reported.

A report which was presented to the provincial health department claims widespread neglect of patients in state hospitals.

According to the report, full-time state doctors were openly working in private surgeries but also claiming millions in overtime from state hospitals.

Docs with private practice licences

KwaZulu-Natal state doctors were not allowed to do paid work outside their official duties or use state resources for such duties, but the report found 354 state doctors had private practice licences.

The report found that for the period from June 2011 to June last year patients in public hospitals were being neglected by doctors working privately.

There was a lack of proper monitoring and supervision of medical practitioners in state facilities.

Taking into consideration the amount claimed from medical aids, it was impossible for those doctors to work a 40-hour week with overtime yet they continued to claim for it.

The R22 068 716 in medical claims is from just one medical aid scheme and the final figure was expected to be substantially higher.

Provincial head of department Sibongile Zungu confirmed the report's findings.

She told the Sunday Tribune the department would be taking legal action to recover the monies claimed from medical aids by those implicated.

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