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Stock image of a doctor holding a pill. Photo: Envato Elements

HPCSA issues tips on how to identify bogus doctors

The HPCSA says that policing the increase of bogus doctors is becoming increasingly difficult.

male birth control pill

Stock image of a doctor holding a pill. Photo: Envato Elements

The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has ramped up efforts in trying to ‘sweep the streets’ and remove bogus doctors.

The HPCSA is a statutory body established under the Health Professions Act 56 of 1974. While its work is centred around ensuring quality and equitable healthcare for all, it is also mandated to “regulate the health professions in the country in aspects pertaining to education, training and registration, professional conduct and ethical behaviour, ensuring Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and fostering compliance with healthcare standards”.

HPCSA: Joburg raids yield positive results

The HPCSA recently issued a statement, calling on South Africans to assist them in reporting “unregistered persons practising illegally and registered practitioners employing unregistered persons as locums.”

The council was prompted to target Johannesburg for raids after it received numerous complaints about the rise of bogus doctors in several areas.

Working with law enforcement officers, HPCSA’s Inspectorate Office conducted raids in:

  • Pretoria CBD;
  • Tembisa;
  • Kempton Park;
  • Sunnyside; and
  • Arcadia

The operations yielded the following results:

  • One doctor arrested in Pretoria CBD for practising in the termination of pregnancies without HPCSA registration and administering scheduled medication whilst not being in possession of the required license from the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority;
  • Two doctors arrested in Tembisa for fraud and contravention of section 17(1) of the Health Professions Act 56 of 1974; and
  • One doctor arrested in Kempton Park for practising as a medical practitioner whilst not registered with HPCSA;

According to the health professions watchdog, no arrests were made in raids that were conducted in Sunnyside and Arcadia.

How to spot a bogus doctor in Joburg

HPCSA’s Dr Raymond Billa admitted that policing the increase of bogus doctors was a tough job.

“If they are registered with us then we have jurisdiction over them and once they are not registered with us, we have no jurisdiction and there is no way we can protect the public because we need to know who is practising and whether they are fully registered with the HPCSA and they gave the correct qualifications,” he said.

He warned that legitimate doctors often have a registration certificate with their name, qualification and notice of HPCSA membership hung up in their offices.

Also, all forms of paperwork handled by the doctor would, in normal circumstances, have their medical practice number included at the top, or where it is clearly visible.