It has come to the attention of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (henceforth referred to as ‘Council’) that there are various healthcare institutions who are employing healthcare practitioners registered with Council in the category of postgraduate studies to perform clinical work. Council would like to categorically state that this is an unacceptable practice and healthcare practitioners should refrain from practising the professions without proper registration with Council.
Section 17(1) of the Health Professions Act, 56 of 1974 states that registration is a prerequisite for practising:
No person shall be entitled to practise within the Republic-
(a) any health profession registrable in terms of this Act; or (b)except in so far as it is authorised by legislation regulating healthcare providers and Sections 33, 34 and 39 of this Act, any health profession the practice of which mainly consists of:-
(i) the physical or mental examination of persons;
(ii) the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of physical or mental defects, illnesses or deficiencies in humankind;
(iii) the giving of advice in regard to such defects, illnesses or deficiencies; or
(iv) the prescribing or providing of medicine in connection with such defects, illnesses or deficiencies, unless he or she is registered in terms of this Act.
The provisions [above] must not be construed as permitting the performance by a person registered under any of the laws contemplated in that subsection of any act which is not performed in the ordinary course of the practising of his or her profession.
The healthcare practitioner on the register shall only practice the profession in respect whereof he or she has applied for registration, within the Republic.
Section 17(5) of the same Act states that: “Any person who is not registered in terms of this Act and practices a health profession in contravention of this section or who pretends to hold such registration is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months or to both a fine and such imprisonment.”
Ethical Rules 9(1)(b) of the Council made in terms of the Act, states that the practitioner can employ a locum only when they are “registered under the Act to practise in independent practice.”
Practitioners holding registration with Council for postgraduate in terms of Section 30 of the Act shall only be entitled to engage in postgraduate or post- diploma studies at such university or other educational institution in the Republic as the Professional Board may determine, and may not locum in professional practice.
Council’s mandate is to ensure that the conduct of all registered healthcare practitioners are aligned to the Act and any unprofessional conduct, such as practising without proper registration, shall be reported Council for investigation.
Practitioners who require additional guidance can submit their queries to Professionalpractice@hpcsa.co.za.