‘Bogus’ practitioners rooted out

The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is a statutory body and is committed to protecting the public and guiding the professions.

The vision of the HPCSA is quality healthcare standards for all. Council is mandated to regulate the health professions in the country in aspects pertaining to registration, education and training, professional conduct and ethical behaviour, ensuring Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and fostering compliance with healthcare standards.

In order to fully discharge this mandate, Council has as one of its responsibilities to ensure compliance by practitioners in line with the provisions of the Health Professions Act, 1974. Council is embarking on a campaign to ensure that all health practitioners comply with all the regulations, ethical rules and all the provisions of the Health Professions Act.

In order to execute the mandate of protecting the public and upholding the Spirit of Professional Guidelines, Council has established the Inspectorate Office whose main focus and primary role is to ensure that registered practitioners comply with the provisions of the Act, as well as all rules and regulations governing the practitioners.

Over and above the overarching responsibility of ensuring compliance, the Inspectorate Office is also responsible for the following duties:

  • Conducting proactive inspections of premises to ensure compliance;
  • Assisting professional Boards with the inspections on clinical and professional compliance matters;
  • Ensuring compliance with penalties imposed by the Professional Conduct Committee;
  • Collecting outstanding fines and attend to criminal matters in respect of unregistered practitioners.

Of greater importance, the Inspectorate Office ensures that all unregistered healthcare professionals do not practice and those persons masquerading as healthcare professionals (“bogus” health care practitioners) are investigated, exposed and criminally charged.

The HPCSA is working with law enforcement and other regulatory institutions in the health sector and members of public to curb these illegal practitioners. Currently, the HPCSA is involved in a number of cases where people who are neither trained (qualified) nor registered with the Council are practicing as healthcare professionals.

Since its inception in January 2015 the Inspectorate office has worked on 635 active cases. People use forged documents such as fake qualifications, fake registration papers and fake registration numbers. The public and practitioners are urged to be vigilant of such bogus doctors and are advised to report suspicious activities to the HPCSA.

The Inspectorate Office of the HPCSA is fully operational and based at Council’s head office in Pretoria, with a regional office in Cape Town. The Council is also in the process of opening offices in Kwa-Zulu Natal (Durban) and Eastern Cape (Port Elizabeth).