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Mediclinic News : Foreign trained doctors take on HPCSA

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Foreign trained doctors take on HPCSA

Date

2018-03-04

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SAFRICA24 A growing number of medical students, parents, doctors and prominent legal figures have come out with guns blazing against a policy that makes it difficult for South Africans who studied medicine abroad to obtain Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) accreditation. The council recently ruled that graduates who studied abroad have to first complete an internship in the countries where they studied before writing their board examinations. This would not be possible for many due to work permits and residency issues in these different countries. Despite being in existence since 2009, the HPCSA rule has never been implemented until now. More than 300 affected people attended a meeting at Kampara Conference Centre in Clare Road, Clare Estate, on Friday evening to join a class action against the council. This followed an urgent application appealing against the rule by a returning KZN doctor, Kapil Sevnaran, in the Gauteng High Court on Friday. Attorney Annie Tooray of Pravda and Knowles Attorneys said the application had been launched against the HPCSA so that those affected would, hopefully, be able to write the upcoming May board exams. At Friday’s meeting, other returning doctors said they would join the application. Prominent legal figures including Judge Shyam Gyanda, advocate Feisal Abraham, and advocate Rajesh Choudree were present to lend their support to the proposed action. Some pledged to fight on behalf of the returning doctors on a pro bono basis. Sevnaran’s application states that the HPCSA had “unethically and inefficiently” conducted itself to the detriment and prejudice of young and aspiring South African doctors in a country that faces a dire shortage. It was only in early February, that many returning medical graduates were advised that they would not qualify to write the examinations before they completed internships in their countries of study. The doctors were also allegedly told that the department of health could not accommodate them as interns at local hospitals, leaving hundreds of the returning doctors in limbo. Some of the same doctors had applied to write the HPSCA board exam last year, but the council had overbooked and they were asked to apply to write the exam in May. Parents and doctors at Friday’s meeting expressed concern that returning doctors were intentionally being side-lined as a result of government prioritising its Cuban medical student programme. A general manager from the SA Medical Association (Sama) in Johannesburg, Manivasan Thandroyen, also flew to Durban to attend the meeting. He said the association was sympathetic to the plight of those affected. “Even though the returning doctors cannot be part of Sama until they have registered with the HPCSA, we still understand their difficulties and will lend our support to them,” said Thandroyen. HPCSA spokesperson Priscilla Sekhonyana said that a meeting with affected parties was scheduled to take place last week, but it had been postponed. “It will only be taking place in the coming weeks. Only after the meeting has taken place will I be able to provide more information,” said Sekhonyana. National Department of Health spokesperson Popo Maja said the plight faced by returning doctors was a “complex” issue and of huge public interest. “The Ministry of Health is sensitive to the issue. We are currently engaging with relevant stakeholders to identify potential solutions. This is inclusive of the deans of our medical schools, the HPCSA, as well as Sama and its affiliates,” said Maja. Earlier this week, Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi said the shortage of doctors should not be used as an excuse to accept students who had qualified abroad into the South African health system. He made the statement in Parliament when he replied to questions from IFP MP Narend Singh, who raised the issue. Motsoaledi said the training in medicine around the world was not universal and differed from country to country depending on culture and conditions of living.
Created at 2018/03/14 08:41 AM by Mediclinic
Last modified at 2018/03/14 08:41 AM by Mediclinic