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MPS meets with specialty groups to discuss rising cost of claims

In October, MPS hosted a round-table discussion in Johannesburg for key representatives of high risk specialty groups within the medical profession, to discuss the rising cost and frequency of clinical negligence claims in South Africa. The group explored how they could work collaboratively to positively influence the current and future claims environment, and how issues such as high quality communication could help improve the patient experience and minimise claims. The meeting followed discussions MPS had earlier in the year with the Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, who has recently indicated he will set up a taskforce to investigate the rise in claims costs and incidence.

The cost of clinical negligence is rising steeply. In the last two years MPS has seen the cost of reported claims more than double – specifically an increase of more than 132%. Media coverage, reports from individual provinces and views recently expressed by Dr Motsoaledi demonstrate that the cost of clinical negligence is also a significant problem in the state sector. Dr Motsoaledi has set up a task force to look into the scale of the problem, contributory factors and to consider possible solutions.

New factsheets for South Africa

MPS has recently published three new factsheets for members in South Africa on chaperones, circumcision and retention of medical records.

Acting as a chaperone can raise many medicolegal dilemmas for doctors

Acting as a chaperone can raise many medicolegal dilemmas for doctors. The Chaperones factsheet draws upon guidance and regulations to outline how you can perform effective patient examinations while safeguarding your professional reputation.

The factsheet on Retention of Medical Records outlines how doctors should manage medical records and know when it is permissible to dispose of them.

The MPS Policy on Circumcision factsheet outlines our position on assisting doctors who conduct circumcisions, and considers the ethical considerations and potential difficulties that can be involved.

MPS Position Statement: Teleradiology

Teleradiology is the process whereby an image is taken in one location and then transmitted to another for reading, analysis, interpretation and provision of a report by the radiologist at the other location.

Members are expected to advise MPS if they are participating in teleradiology and restrict the practice to their respective local jurisdiction. If an indemnity risk arises from that practice then the appropriate grade for that jurisdiction will be charged.

Members are expected to advise MPS if they are participating in teleradiology and restrict the practice to their respective local jurisdiction

Members who wish to practise teleradiology in circumstances where the image is taken in another jurisdiction must both be appropriately registered and have professional indemnity cover in the jurisdiction where the image is taken. MPS may be able to offer benefits of membership in these circumstances and members should contact MPS for advice. Members should not assume that their current MPS membership will offer such an indemnity.

Fraudulent Personnel working in emergency departments

thousands of personnel have been practising in Pretoria’s emergency care services with fraudulent certificates

The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has revealed that thousands of personnel have been practising in Pretoria’s emergency care services with fraudulent certificates.

Since making the discovery in August 2011, more than 1,400 individuals have been removed from the medical register by the Professional Board for Emergency Care (PBEC).

The PBEC conducted a thorough investigation into the quality of training provided by the Limpopo Ambulance Training Academy (LATA).

The Chairman of PBEC said the public were being placed “at risk” when coming into contact with these individuals who had been issued fraudulent certificates from the LATA. He also issued a warning to “any registered member who is involved in any criminal, unprofessional and unethical conduct to stop immediately”.

The HPCSA has reminded all institutions offering emergency care training to ensure they are accredited and operating in compliance with the education and training standards as laid out by the PBEC. The council is calling on all employers to ensure any emergency care staff who obtained certificates from LATA, and who are registered with the HPCSA, have legitimate qualifications.

The PBEC also advises medical students to contact the HPCSA to check the training centres they are attending are accredited institutions.

Following on from the investigation, the PBEC also raised separate concerns about:

  • The quality case provided by ambulance crews
  • Submission of fictitious claims
  • Practitioners practising outside their scope of practice
  • Photographs being taken at accident scenes and distributed across social media websites
  • Strike action, which is strictly prohibited for emergency care workers.

For more information visit: www.hpcsa.co.za

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