Headlines and deadlines
New contact details for South Africa
These new methods of requesting support and advice will help us deliver on our commitments
MPS members in South Africa can now access medicolegal advice direct from the central MPS advice centre, following some changes we have made to our services.
There is now a toll-free central advice line – 0800 982 766 – and a central email address to which you can direct any request for medicolegal assistance.
This new direct access will be underpinned by our established panel of local expert lawyers and experienced medicolegal advisers. We have also developed an online form on our website, for members to complete with details of their medicolegal query.
Membership of MPS continues to grow and, with more than 29,000 healthcare professionals in South Africa now subscribing to MPS’s services, these new methods of requesting support and advice will help us deliver on our commitments.
The contact details for obtaining information about your MPS membership remain unchanged – you can continue to call 0800 225 677 or email your query to [email protected].
Your views are important to MPS. If you would like to provide any feedback about the new centralised contact points for medicolegal advice or make suggestions about improving the service and support we offer, please contact us on either of the numbers or email addresses above.
Ethics 4 All events continue
Given the continuing rise in clinical negligence claims and the potential rise in complaints to the regulator, it is important that doctors receive straightforward and effective advice on how to avoid adverse outcomes. MPS will host the hugely successful Ethics 4 All conferences in November.
It will be its fifth year and for the first time they will be held over three sites (Cape Town, Pretoria and Durban).
Find out more about MPS events
HPCSA campaign on patients’ rights
The HPCSA launched a campaign earlier this year to raise awareness of patients’ rights. The acting registrar of the HPCSA at the time, Dr Kgosi Letlape, gave a series of interviews in which he claimed that there had been a “decline” and “decay” in standards of ethics and professionalism.
MPS engages with the HPCSA on behalf of members
MPS responded in a number of ways:
- Dr Graham Howarth, MPS Head of Medical Services (Africa), had a letter published in Business Day that responded to an interview that Dr Letlape made (this was featured in the May 2012 edition of Casebook)
- Dr Howarth met with Dr Letlape informally and had the opportunity to express his concerns in person
- A number of MPS members wrote to Dr Howarth expressing concerns – we wrote back reiterating our position.
MPS engages with the HPCSA on behalf of members. We will continue to do so with the new CEO and Registrar Dr Buyiswa Mjamba-Matshoba.
Legal Practices Bill
The Bill has been 15 years in the making. It seeks to unify and update the practices governing the legal fraternity, make the profession more representative of the country’s demographics and make legal services more accessible to ordinary people by capping legal fees.
It was tabled in Parliament at the end of May and the Department for Justice and Constitutional Development briefed the Portfolio Committee in early June. Given the rise in clinical negligence costs in South Africa and the part that legal fees play in this, the Bill will be of interest. However, it is too early to tell what impact that this could have – but we will continue to monitor the Bill.
National Health Amendment Bill
The long-running Bill proposes to amend the National Health Act 2003 and seeks to empower the Minister to establish the Office of Health Standards Compliance (OHSC).
This will be an independent body that will advise the Minister on the development and implementation of enforceable norms and standards for quality and safety of the entire health system.
MPS took part in a consultation on the Bill in 2011 and called for greater clarity on how the norms and standards that the OHSC are to implement are defined and how extensive they will be.
Public hearings on the Bill took place during this spring and the Bill is now being redrafted. MPS will continue to monitor the progress of the Bill.