In a shocking find, the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has listed at least ten unregistered medical practitioners or practitioners issuing illegal medical certificates to employers who wish to abscond from work, within the Western Cape.
Senior Manager at the HPCSA’s Inspectorate Office, Eric Mphapuli, explains that the HPCSA is working with the public, law enforcement agencies and other regulatory councils to identify individuals who are issuing fake medical certificates to individuals.
The HPCSA’s clamped down is aimed at identifying and arresting fake medical practitioners and practitioners who are issuing fake medical certificates.
“They are issuing these medical certificates to people who are not sick and this [in turn], it also impacts the productivity of a company the economy of the country.”
Mphapuli further notes that the issuing of fake medical certificates tarnishes the image of other practitioners.
In terms of the requirements, he says medical certificates need contain the particulars of the practitioner, including the name, address, signature of a practitioner, and an indication of the diagnoses.
“Sometimes practitioners claim ‘confidentiality’, which doctors will discuss between themselves and patient. But, in terms of doubt, we always encourage employees to contact us so that we can confirm the authenticity of the medical certificate.”
While practitioners are required to renew their licence on an annual basis, Mphapuli says that he is aware that certain registered doctors are guilty of registering fake certificates in return for payment.
“The employee is able to go to our website and check the registration number using the name [of the practitioner] it will indicate if the person if registered or not.”
With regards to the onus of employees who purchase or request ‘fake’ sick notes, he says that when the matter goes to court, both parties will be questioned for fraud.
The list of practitioners that were listed, were found to have issued numerous fake certificates.
“We appeal to the members of the community, practitioners and employees to report this illegal practice so that they cannot endanger of people.”
The HPCSA inspectorate can be contacted on 021 830 5921.