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'HPCSA facing major probe'

Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture Credit: Kgothatso Madisa
Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture Credit: Kgothatso Madisa

A team of medical, law, information technology and administration experts are investigating several allegations against the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA), Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Tuesday.

"I have received a lot of complaints about governance, efficiency, effectiveness and sometimes even the competency of the management of the HPCSA," Motsoaledi told reporters in Pretoria.

"The council itself did attempt to put up a committee to resolve the matter, but the weight of the issues is such that I believe that an outside independent process will be more appropriate."

The team would investigate procurement procedures followed when the HPCSA acquired the Oracle information system, used to register health professionals. The health department had reportedly decided against using the system.

The team would investigate allegations of maladministration by HPCSA staff who have since resigned.

"There are 30 submissions by staff that were delivered to the office of the president of the Health Professions Council of SA," said Motsoaledi.

The fitness of the chief executive officer, who also operates in the capacity of registrar, to run the organisation would be examined, as would that of the chief operations officer.

"The team is also mandated to investigate and make findings with regards to whether or not the state of affairs has affected the effectiveness and efficiency of the HPCSA," he said.

The experts would probe whether the state of the HPCSA has affected the training of health professionals and the registration of foreign expertise.

The experts would recommend to the minister if there was a need for a forensic audit.

"In terms of policy, they have 60 days to finalise the investigation process and provide findings and recommendations to me for further action," Motsoaledi said.

The investigations would be led by Prof Bongani Mayosi, head of department of medicine at the University of Cape Town. He is also chairman of the National Health Research Committee.

The HPCSA is a statutory body and registration with the institution is a pre-requisite for professional practice for doctors and other health care workers.

It is a legal requirement for health care workers to keep all their personal details up to date with the entity.

The HPCSA conducted the inquiry into the conduct of Cape Town cardiologist Wouter Basson. In December last year it found him guilty of unprofessional conduct for his involvement in the apartheid-era chemical weapons programme Project Coast.

HPCSA president Prof Sam Mokgokong said the day-to-day running of the HPCSA would continue.


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