The Health Professions Council of South Africa is a statutory body, established in terms of the Health Professions Act and is committed to protecting the public and guiding the professions.
Council’s objects includes those of upholding and maintaining professional standards within the health professions and ensure the investigation of complaints concerning persons registered in terms of the Health Professions Act and to ensure that appropriate disciplinary action is taken against such persons in accordance with the Act in order to protect the interest of the public.
The professional boards have been empowered by the Act to institute an inquiry into any complaint, charge or allegation of unprofessional conduct against any person registered under the Act, and, on finding such a person guilty of such a conduct, to impose any of the penalties prescribed in section 42(1) of the Act.
Unprofessional conduct which does not warrant the holding of a formal professional conduct inquiry (minor transgression) is referred for an alternative dispute resolution process by the Ombudsman who mediates on such minor transgressions.
A complaint must be lodged in writing and should be addressed to the Registrar using the following available modes:
All complaints received are perused, analyzed and categorized according to their significance and seriousness. Complaints not falling under the jurisdiction of the HPCSA are referred to the relevant authorities. These includes complaints against hospitals, medical schemes or other health professionals not registered under the Health Professions Act.
Complaints of minor transgressions are referred to the Ombudsman for mediation whereas complaints categorized as serious are referred for preliminary investigation.
After receiving a complaint for mediation, the Ombudsman may call for further information in any manner he deems appropriate from any person who, in his opinion, may assist in the mediation to resolve the matter and this may include requesting a practitioner to respond to the complaint. After receiving the information referred to above, the ombudsman considers the matter and mediate between the parties with a view of making a determination to resolve the matter between the parties.
After making the determination, the Ombudsman advises the parties of his determination on the matter and require them to indicate whether or not they will abide by the determination. If the parties agree to abide by the determination, the ombudsman confirms the determination in writing and the determination becomes binding on both parties as a final resolution of the matter. If either party does not agree to abide by the determination, the matter is referred to the registrar for preliminary investigation.
The information obtained by the ombudsman during mediation is confidential and privileged and, if a matter is referred for preliminary investigation, such information may not be considered by the preliminary committee of inquiry.
All matters of a serious nature are referred for preliminary investigation. The process of preliminary investigation involves obtaining information from any person including the written response from the person against whom the complaint is lodged who is given fourty (40) days to respond to the complaint.
The complaint, information obtained and the written response (if available) are considered by the preliminary committee of inquiry which may either:
A professional conduct inquiry process is a lengthy process at it is quasi-judicial in nature. At an inquiry, a practitioner may not be found guilty of unprofessional conduct, in which case the practitioner is discharged, but ter pro-forma complainant may appeal the decision of the committee to the Appeals Committee of Council OR the practitioner may be found guilty, in which case, the committee imposes any of the penalties in section 42(1) of the Act.
Is your complaint related to a hospital?
Any person may lodge a complaint with the Office of Health Standards Compliance (OHSC) for breach of any norms or standards by both public and private health establishments.
OHSC Call Centre: 080 911 6472
Fax: 086 560 4157
Other Healthcare Practitioners
Is your complaint related to a nurse?
If you feel that a nurse acted negligently or unethically, individual nurses can be reported to the South African Nursing Council (SANC) to investigate the complaint.
Is your complaint related to an alternative healthcare practitioner (natural healers, homeopath etc).
If you feel that an alternative healthcare practitioner acted negligently or unethically, report to the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa (AHPCSA)to investigate the complaint.