Medical consumer services

Got a problem with your medical scheme, hospital, doctor, dentist, nurse, pharmacist or optometrist? Here's where to go for advice and complaints.

Just before you do, just check that one of the following things have been breached, otherwise you might be wasting your time. There need to be four elements present, before a patient can consider suing for medical malpractice:

  • A duty must exist, where a hospital or health care provider undertakes care or treatment of a patient.
  • This duty is breached if the provider does not conform to the relevant standard of care.
  • This breach causes an injury to the patient.
  • This injury leads to losses – either financial or emotional.

Make sure that you have the following information handy: the name and practice number of the practitioner, the type of treatment you were seeking, any medical scheme details, the date of the treatment and factual details regarding your complaint.

Council for Medical Schemes
A body established by government to protect the interests of the public and members of medical schemes. Their web site has a "complaints zone" where a complaint can be both filed and tracked online. Before submitting a complaint, you must first follow your medical scheme's internal complaints procedure.

Tel: (012) 431 0500 - general inquiries Tel: (012) 431 0508/47 - complaints; sharecall number: 0861123267
Fax: (012) 430 7644

Health Professions Council of South Africa
A statutory body that sets and maintains standards for health care in the country. Every health professional must be registered with the Council, which has the power to institute a disciplinary inquiry into any complaint of unprofessional conduct by any of its members. Note that the Council does not handle complaints against hospitals - see hospital complaints below.

Tel: (012) 338 9300 or 328 6680
Fax: (012) 328 5120/4895

Hospital complaints
Complaints against public hospitals should be made with the Department of Health.

Complaints against private hospitals should be lodged with the Hospital Association of South Africa.

Tel: (012) 312 000
Fax: (012) 326 4395

The Hospital Association of South Africa
A self-regulatory body which investigates complaints against its members. On the website (telephone the number below for the web address) you can find your nearest private hospital or trauma centre and get information on costs and financing of treatment, scale of benefits - and lodging a complaint (click on "public pages").

Tel: (011) 478 0156
Fax: (011) 478 0410

South African Medical Association

Tel: (012) 481 2000
Fax (012) 481 2100

South African Nursing Council
An independent statutory body that sets and maintains nursing standards in South Africa, and investigates complaints of unprofessional conduct by nurses.

Tel: (012) 420 1000
Fax: (012) 343 5400

Dental Ombudsman
For complaints and questions about treatments or charges.

Tel: (011) 484 8704

South African Dental Association

Tel: (011) 484 5288
Toll-free: 0800 110 725
Fax: (011) 642-5718

South African Optometric Association
Will assist with complaints against optometrists who are members of the Association. Their web site offers a range of other useful services and information.

Tel: (011) 805 4517
Fax: (011) 805 3882

South African Pharmacy Council

Tel: (012) 319 8500
Fax: (012) 321 1492

Read more:

Tips on choosing a medical scheme

(Susan Erasmus, updated April 2010)

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