The Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) has gazetted a 15% annual fee increase for doctors and dentists amid an outcry over an “insensitive” decision for practitioners already straining under the fight against COVID-19. Initially the HPCSA contemplated an increase of 28%, but "after an extensive budget review", settled on a 15% increase.
*** SEE HPCSA STATEMENT BELOW
Practitioner anger was widespread, with correspondents to MedicalBrief last week pointing out that the latest HPCSA increase of 15% meant that annual registration fees would have risen by almost 40% in two years. To add insult to injury, the HPCSA along with the HPCSA Ombud and Health minister, continued simply to ignore practitioners' complaints, doctors have complained.
The Cape Times reports that SA Medical Association Trade Union joined the fray, stating that the decision was inconsiderate to doctors who were currently grappling with the effects of COVID-19 and its economic ramifications.
The SA Medical Association along with the Junior Doctors Association of SA and the SA Dental Association said their strong opposition to the increase had prompted the HPCSA to call a meeting with stakeholders.
Dr Cedric Sihlangu said the gazetted fee increase had been “insensitive” to the material conditions faced by doctors. “It is inconsiderate to allow a 0% fee increase to the other professional boards of the HPCSA but still subject and burden the doctors and dentists with fee hikes.”
HPCSA spokesperson Priscilla Sekhonyana said that the fee increase has since been reduced by 13 percentage points.
*** STATEMENT FROM HPCSA RECEIVED THURSDAY, 8 MAY ***
Council in an effort to keep annual fee increases as low as possible embarked on a review to reduce costs for the annual fee increases for the financial year 2021/22, this incorporates other fee increases to be reduced as low as possible without affecting the Professional Boards ability to deliver on their core mandates.
Initially the HPCSA annual fee increases for the Medical and Dental Professions Board was proposed to be 28 % and after an extensive budget review, Council promulgated a fee increase of 15% and not the initial fee of 28%. Hence the reduction of 13%. The only promulgated fees are the ones of 15%.
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