Report unearths shocking state of Health Professions Council of South Africa

The Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA), which has been dogged by several complaints, is in for some sweeping changes, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi announced on Thursday.

He made public a scathing report which found that the council was filled with unfit management who violated a string of procedures and failed to provide leadership.

Motsoaledi called for a review of the HPCSA is after "deep systematic disjunction were unearthed", adding the council employs more lawyers than health workers.

An inquiry into the HPCSA, which was set up in 1997 and regulates a wide range of health professionals, including doctors and dentists, was announced in March.

It was led by Professor Bongani Mayosi, who is head of department of medicine at the University of Cape Town, and comprised a team of medical, law, information technology and administration experts probing complaints ranging from allegations of administrative irregularities, poor governance and inefficiency to tender corruption.

All health professionals that want to practice in South Africa are legally obliged to register with the HPCSA and pay fees. It is a legal requirement for health care workers to keep all their personal details up to date with the entity.

However, the council has come under attack for being slow to register health professionals, particularly foreigners.

Motsoaledi said at least 30 unnamed staff members also made submissions to the inquiry. The public was also invited to make submissions to the inquiry.
Motsoaledi said the HPCSA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) failed to co-operate with ministerial task team. The Chief Operating Officer (COO) also refused to meet task team.

Motsoaledi said the COO implicated in unauthorised wasteful and irregular expenditure.

He recommended that disciplinary action be instituted against CEO, COO and legal manager and that the body be unbundled.