Cheat doctors exposed

Stan Mzimba

Stan Mzimba

Cheating doctors in Eastern Cape have forced the provincial Department of Health to introduce duty registers.

Doctors who defraud the system are, however, not only a problem for Eastern Cape. It is a nationwide phenomenon.

But Eastern Cape is now taking action with the introduction of registers that doctors will be expected to sign every day to account for the amount of time they spend on duty.

This follows widespread abuse, with an increasing number of doctors spending less than a third of their shift at work, but claiming for whole shifts at the end the month.

This is costing the government millions of rands.

An investigation by Sowetan has established that at just one hospital, Nelson Mandela Hospital in Mthatha, at least six doctors are in on the scam.

The six doctors work for between three and four hours a shift before moving to their private practices, where they spend the rest of the day.

Provincial health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo confirmed his department was aware this practice was prevalent at Nelson Mandela Hospital.

Junior doctors told Sowetanthat it was sometimes difficult to get these doctors back to the hospital in cases of emergency.