Regulations as to where doctors may work is contrary to the Constitution

2014-05-23
Adv Anton Alberts

Changes to the National Health Act which was quietly signed by President Jacob Zuma and which prescribes to doctors and other health professionals in the health industry where they are allowed to work and open practices, is unconstitutional and infringes on their right to work, says Adv. Anton Alberts, the FF Plus’ parliamentary spokesperson on Health.

According to reports on timeslive.co.za, people in the medical industry will in future be told where they may work and could receive a sentence of up to five years imprisonment if they operate a private practice after April 2016 without obtaining the required permission.

This would mean that people such as doctors, dentists, dieticians and physiotherapists who want to open or operate a private practice or clinic, will have to apply to the department of Health for a ‘certificate of need’ to obtain permission to work in a certain area.

In practice it would, for example, mean that a doctor who wishes to join his father’s or mother’s practice, will first have to apply for a certificate and in so doing will first have to obtain permission from government, according to the report.

Another example of the absolute absurd effect of the Act is that when a doctor wishes to purchase an established practice, he or she will first have to apply for this certificate, which boils down to the state being able to regulate to whom a person may sell his practice and who may purchase it.

Adv. Alberts says the FF Plus will discuss the issue in the parliamentary portfolio committee on Health and he will also be asking the minister of Health questions about the practical implementation of the plan and the constitutionality thereof.

“The state has to see to it that there are clinics and hospitals across the country. This is a deliberate attempt of the state to manipulate the private health sector in such a manner that the private sector will, on behalf of the state, see to it that health services are readily available everywhere.

“This is unacceptable and tramples the rights of professional people to freely practice their profession,” Adv. Alberts says.

 

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