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Advice on employment contracts

The HPCSA cautions practitioners who are considering engaging in employment with private entities to consider carefully the type of contractual arrangement they enter into. Practitioners are encouraged to engage with entities as independent contractors or service providers (by means of service level agreements approved by the HPCSA), for any clinical services required by the corporate entity, rather than as full-time employees.

The HPCSA feels it necessary to remind practitioners that their obligations as healthcare practitioners require them to always act in the best interest of their patients and that they should desist from entering into any arrangement that may result in the quality of clinical care being compromised.

To this end, healthcare professionals should always try to avoid potential conflicts of interest and maintain professional autonomy, independence and commitment to the appropriate professional and ethical norms. Any conflicts of interest or incentive or form of inducement which threatens such autonomy, independence or commitment to the appropriate professional and ethical norms or which does not accord first priority to the clinical need of a patient, is undesirable and unacceptable.

The Health Professions ethical rules and guidelines make provision for healthcare practitioners to be employed. However, the employment of practitioners is decided on an ad-hoc basis by the Undesirable Business Practices Committee of the HPCSA. As a basis for considering these applications, the motive for the proposed employment would be carefully considered. If the application is found to be against the public interest and the interest of the HPCSA, it would not be approved. Applications should come from the practitioner as the person registered with the HPCSA as opposed to prospective employers.

Last Updated on 18 November 2014 by HPCSA Corporate Affairs