The [b]South African national Department of Health[/b] has postponed its controversial plans to regulate where doctors work, saying it needs more time to craft regulations that will bring the relevant sections of the National Health Act into effect, reports [s]Business Day[/s]. On the advice of the state law adviser, the department asked the president’s office to withdraw the promulgation of sections 36 to 40 of the National Health Act, which contain provisions requiring all health establishments – from GPs’ offices to private hospitals – to obtain a certificate of need from the department by April 2016.
The development was criticised by the [b]South African Medical Association (Sama)[/b], SA’s biggest doctor organisation, which yesterday said tinkering with the regulations would not fix the problem. It wanted the enabling Act overhauled as it was unclear, unconstitutional and threatened doctors’ livelihoods. Sama spokesperson Mzukisi Grootboom said the department’s decision to revoke the promulgation offered no more than a temporary reprieve.
Deputy Director-General for regulation and compliance Dr Anban Pillay said that the Health department had no intention of amending the Act, and contrary to a statement issued by the Democratic Alliance (DA), the legislation was not going to be referred to Parliament.
DA shadow spokesman for Health Wilmot James said the government should abandon its plans for the certificate. ‘It’s a bureaucratic obstacle. They should rather have an architecture of incentives (to get doctors to work in underserviced areas).’
[link url=http://www.bdlive.co.za/national/health/2014/07/30/plans-to-regulate-where-doctors-work-put-on-ice]Full Business Day report[/link]