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Doctors speak out on paediatrician’s suspension by Gauteng health department

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Government’s attempt to muzzle doctors is aimed at preventing the truth about conditions at state hospitals reaching the public, says the SA Medical Association (Sama), speaking out against the precautionary suspension of Dr Tim de Maayer from the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital.

De Maayer was suspended after criticising the state of healthcare provided to children at the Johannesburg hospital.

“The decision to suspend Dr De Maayer is shockingly inappropriate and threatens to curb the legitimate raising of concerns regarding conditions at state-run facilities by doctors who have taken an oath to put their patients’ needs first,” said the association.

“Doctors are entitled to voice their concerns about conditions and are, in fact, duty bound to do so.

“The department’s kneejerk reaction to suspend Dr De Maayer is an attempt to suppress the truth about the appalling conditions not only at Rahima Moosa, but other public hospitals.”

Sama also cited the case of a Limpopo doctor who was suspended by provincial authorities after accusations of misconduct against him. A task team found no basis for the allegations against him.

“Despite a high court ruling ordering that his suspension be lifted, he is being denied entry back into the facility where he works,” said Sama, which is fighting for him to be allowed to return to work.

“These two cases point to a concerted campaign by health departments to muzzle critics and prevent the truth about the conditions at their hospitals from reaching the public,” Sama charged.

“We would advise these departments to rather focus on correcting the important issues raised by doctors. Expending energy on silencing voices that highlight poor conditions does nothing to improve those conditions.”

The Sama Trade Union (Samatu) added its voice to calls for the management of Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital to withdraw the suspension of the paediatric gastroenterologist.

“Samatu is gravely concerned about the unnecessary suspension of Dr De Maayer and views this conduct by the Gauteng department of health as tantamount to bullying. The victimisation perpetrated against Dr De Maayer for voicing his concerns about the state of public health facilities and advocating for patients’ constitutional right to healthcare will further contribute to the pathetic working conditions to which doctors are subjected.

“It is shocking that the Gauteng department of health would prefer to suspend a medical practitioner instead of attending to the long-standing problems associated with the infrastructure.”

Source: TimesLIVE

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