More doctors bust in the Eastern Cape
THE Eastern Cape department of health is investigating 30 doctors over allegations of moonlighting
The doctors have allegedly been running private practices when they were supposed to be attending to patients at state hospitals in Mthatha.
The investigation follows a health department sting last week where officials pounced on a state doctor at her private practice. She has since been given five days to state why she should not be suspended.
Doctors employed by the state reportedly earn between R1- million and R1.4-million annually.
Last year the department hired a consortium consisting of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Mnombo Consulting and Sizwe Ntsaluba VSP to conduct an investigation into the matter.
According to a report compiled by the teamh, 30 specialist doctors are being investigated for doing remunerative work outside the public service (RWOPS) without special permission from health MEC Sicelo Gqobana.
The investigation team has obtained information on the doctors from five different medical aid schemes, Discovery Health, Liberty, All Care, Medscheme and Resolution.
It is stated in the report that of the 183 doctors employed at Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital in Mthatha, 30 were recorded as having practice numbers.
The report shows that between April 2011 and June 2011 one doctor had seen a number of patients at a private hospital in Mthatha and over a six month period – April 2011 to August 2011 – earned R121,692 from his private practice.
The report also accused a number of other doctors for neglecting their state duties to run their private practices over the same six month period. Their earnings ranged from R9,600 to R789,000.
Last week, health department superintendent-general Dr Siva Pillay said they had laid complaints against certain doctors with the Health Professions Council.
Department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo also confirmed that they had instituted an investigation into the doctors.
“We are short of doctors and every day we have long queues at hospitals, patients complain. The doctors are paid for whole day’s work but they run, pretending to be going on tea breaks, knowing that they going to their practices.”
He added that the problem was most prevalent in the Mthatha, East London and Port Elizabeth areas.
“The MEC is looking at the report findings,” he said. “We are busy consulting our legal team as what steps need to be taken.”
He said the department had also developed a RWOPS policy in an effort to curb the problem.
However, HPCSA chief executive Dr Buyiswa Mjamba-Matshoba said there was no record of a complaint lodged with the regulator against these practitioners.