In terms of the HPCSA’s mandate of protecting the public and guiding the professions. The HPCSA is responsible for ensuring that healthcare practitioners are fit to practice their profession free from any physical or mental impairment.
The Health Committee (HC) of Council is sanctioned in terms of Section 51 of the Health Professions Act, 56 of 1974 to regulate/advise impaired practitioners who suffer from a mental or physical condition or the abuse and dependence on chemical substances, which affects the competence, attitude, judgment or performance of any student or practitioner registered in terms of the Act. In terms of Rule 25 of the HPCSA’s Ethical and Professional Rules, practitioners, students and interns must report impairment in themselves or of colleagues to the HPCSA.
The Health Committee is a non-punitive Committee which was established to manage the compliance by the practitioners while also protecting the public. The Committee also focuses on the refinement of the regulations and procedures affecting the day to day functions and operations of the Health Committee
The Health Committee of Council shall consist of six (6) members constituted as follows:
- The Chairperson, elected by Council from amongst its members
- A Psychiatrist, elected by Council
- A Psychologist, elected by Council
- A Psychologist appointed by Council in consultation with the Professional Board for Psychology
- A Psychiatrist, appointed by Council in consultation with the Medical and Dental Professions Board
- An Occupational Health Specialist appointed by Council
Responsibilities and functions of the Health Committee
The Regulations Relating to Impairment of Students and Practitioners under the Health Professions Act, 56 of 1974 provide a detailed account of the role and responsibilities of the Health Committee of Council and these are summarised below:
The Health Committee of Council is authorised to:
- Establish policies and procedures and to enlist cooperation and support for the prevention or alleviation of circumstances which may lead to impairment in students and/or practitioners;
- Establish mechanisms and procedures for the early identification of impairment in students and practitioners;
- Implement procedures for handling crisis situations which may threaten patient safety and/or care;
- Undertake informal assessments of reports on alleged impaired students and practitioners, to make findings with regard to impairment and, if required, to impose conditions of registration or practice on such persons aimed at thr protection of patients and treatment of impaired person;
- Appoint investigation committees on an ad hoc basis to undertake formal investigations into reports of alleged impairment in the absence of voluntary cooperation of students and/or practitioners, to make findings with regard to impairment and, if required, to impose conditions of registration or practice aimed at the protection of patients and treatment of impaired students and/or practitioners;
- Consider applications by students and/or practitioners who were found to be impaired to have their conditions of registration or practice amended or to have such conditions revoked;
- Oversee the implementation of treatment programmes of impaired students and/or practitioners and to review the position of such student and/or practitioner at least every (3) years;
- Co-opt a member or members of a Professional Board to serve on an ad hoc basis on the Committee as and when particular input is required in respect of a specific profession or health professional registered under a particular Professional Board;
- Regularly review and make recommendations about changes to the terms of reference of the Committee;
- Obtain or perform an annual evaluation of the Committee’s performance and make applicable recommendations.
To contact the Health Committee on this matter please email HealthCommittee@hpcsa.co.za or telephone 012 3383963.