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By Vukosi Maluleke

Digital Journalist

‘No evidence suggests they’ve seen patients’: Health ministry on bogus doctors

Two 'fake' doctors were recently caught inside Gauteng's public health facilities.

The Health Ministry said there was no evidence suggesting the recently nabbed bogus doctors had seen patients or administered medication.

In separate incidents, two fake doctors were recently caught inside Gauteng’s public health facilities.

While the rise of similar incidents has sparked concerns over patient safety, the health ministry said there was no evidence indicating the culprits had been in direct contact with patients.

Speaking to The Citizen, Health Ministry media liason officer, Doctor Tshwale confirmed the recent arrests and reassured the public.

“The chances of these bogus doctors attending to patients are slim, hence there is no evidence  to suggest that the recent two arrested in our facilities, have seen the patients,” Tshwale said.

“There is no evidence that such fake health professionals have administered medicine or seen the patients in public health facilities precisely because health workers work in a team.

“But this remains a concern for the department because any chance of administering medication or attending to patients by these fake health workers, it may put the health of patients at risk,” he added.

While most of the recent incidents occurred in public hospitals, Tshwale said a majority of bogus doctors were traced in the private sector.

Tshwale said the Health Ministry was working with the South African Police Service (Saps), Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) and other stakeholders to curb the prevalence of bogus doctors.

ALSO READ: Bogus doctor tries to solicit bribe at Chris Hani Baragwanath

‘Right to verify’

Meanwhile, the HPCSA has established an Inspectorate Office to investigate and report illegal practices by unregistered persons to the Saps.

“The inspectorate office conducts inspections and investigates all allegations of bogus practitioners practicing illegally,” said HPCSA spokesperson Christopher Tsatsawane.

Speaking to The Citizen, Tsatsawane said the public could verify whether a practitioner is registered by visiting the i-registered portal on the HPCSA website or by contacting the council’s call centre directly.

“Upon registration a practitioner is issued with registration certificate and a practicing card which must be renewed annually, the public and patients have rights to request these documents to verify the registration status of the person claiming to be a registered practitioner,” he said.

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