Legal and Regulatory Affairs

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.

Conduct and Ethics

Being registered as a health care professional with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) confers on us the right and privilege to practise our professions. Correspondingly, practitioners have moral or ethical duties to others and society. These duties are generally in keeping with the principles of the South African Constitution (Act No. 108 of 1996) and the obligations imposed on health care practitioners by law.
Ethics, Human Rights and Health Law is - an understanding of the bioethical principles that determine how health practitioners perform research and interact with patients/ clients and society as described in Chapter 1 and 2 of the Constitution of South Africa, 1996 (As adopted on 8 May 1996 and amended on 11 October 1996 by the Constitutional Assembly). Health care is a constantly advancing field and with these advances, conflicts often arise within the arenas of politics, law, religion, philosophy and economics. An understanding of bioethics helps us to recognise, admit and sometimes resolve these conflicts.
Ethical guidelines for good practice in the health care professions:
Booklet 1: General ethical guidelines for health care professions click here
Booklet 2: Ethical and professioal rules of the Health Professions of South Africa click here
Booklet 3: National Patients' Rights Charter click here
Booklet 4: Seeking patients'informed consent: The ethical considerations click here
Booklet 5: Confidentiality:  Protecting and providing information click here
Booklet 6: Guidelines for the management of patients with HIV infenctions or AIDS click here
Booklet 7: Guidelines withholding and withdrawing treatment click here
Booklet 8: Guidelines on Reproductive Health management click here
Booklet 9: Guidelines on Patient Records click here
Booklet 10: Guidelines for the practice of Telehealth click here
Booklet 11: Guidelines on over servicing, perverse incentives and related matters click here
Booklet 12: Guidelines for the management of health care waste click here
Booklet 13: General ethical guidelines for health researchers click here
Booklet 14: Ethical Guidelines for Biotechnolgy Research in South Africa click here
Booklet 15: Research, development and the use of the chemical, biological and nuclear weapons click here
Booklet 16: Ethical Guidelines on Social Media click here
Booklet 17: Ethical Guidelines on Palliative Care click here
The following includes unprofessional conduct against which we may take disciplinary steps:
  • Unauthorised advertising
  • Over-servicing of patients
  • Criminal convictions
  • Improper relationships with patients
  • Improper conduct of practitioners
  • Operational procedure without patient's permission or consent
  • Disclosure of information in regard to patient without his / her permission
  • Incompetence in regard to treatment of patients
  • Excessive fees charged/overcharging
  • Insufficient care towards patients
  • Racial discrimination
  • Rude behaviour towards patients
  • Prescriptions to already addicted patients
  • Perverse incentives and kickbacks
The list is not exhaustive, and such a practitioner may be charged in terms of the ethical rules and the act.