A few days later, shortly after letter to HPCSA regarding a doctor practising privately and not registered with the organization, stories broke in the media that the organization has warned citizens against such doctors.
At the time, there was no report if any of such doctors has been arrested or not. However, this seems to have been taking place in several parts of the country – although I only came into contact with the case about two or three months before lodging a complaint at HPCSA.
As mentioned in the previous post, the patient went to see the doctor the following day as promised claiming to have registered with HPCSA. On his arrival at the surgery, the doctor did not even argue with the patient on his request for a refund.
Instead, the doctor read my statement, copy of which I gave the patient and made a refund.
Upon asking the patient what he would have done if there had been no refund, he said he threatened the doctor to sit in his surgery and his refusal to leave without his money, R170.00 he paid during consultation.
What was surprising was the patient’s statement that the doctor was not South Africa – meaning, as I understood, the doctor was from another country and not SA – not only was he practising medically, but he also practising traditionally.
And when practising using traditional medicine, it was unlikely to can stop him from doing what he was doing, practising illegally.
And lying traditional healers?
In the kind of work I do, I have come to realise that not only is it scientific medical doctors that practise illegally, but traditional healers do too.
This was after receiving a sick note from one employee from a traditional healer claiming to be registered with Traditional Healers Organisation and with a practise number.
Normally, as I come to know, employees go to a doctor or a traditional healer so that they can be given a few days off and sort out whatever problems they may be having. Therefore, they use both doctors.
As a normal practice, I do the following:
- Contact the doctor to confirm consultation of the employee,
- Contact Board of Healthcare Funders to confirm the practising number and
- Contact the HPCSA to check if the doctor is still registered to practise and if his practising membership has been suspended or not.
This procedure, I do before regarding the sick note as valid or not and that of traditional healers.
Upon contacting Traditional Healers Organisation, I was shocked to find out that the sick noted I received or format thereof, was cancelled since 2003 and a new format/template was issued and active.
This means, the Traditional Healers Organisation consultant informed me, it’s either the healer is no longer a member (his/her membership being suspended) and he never was a member.
The consultant informed me that a new sick note format was issued because it came to the attention of Traditional Healers Organisation that many healers were abusing sick notes. Therefore in order to control this behaviour, when consulting traditional healers, healers themselves should: examine the employee, contact the THO regarding the patient’s illness which will issue the sick note after which it will be sent to the patient’s employer, if any.
The difficulty, it must be acknowledged, is taking steps against healers not registered with THO or medical doctors not registered with HPCSA and how such cases must be addressed.