KEEP UP TO DATE WITH ALL THE IMPORTANT COVID-19 INFORMATIONCOVID-19 RESOURCE PORTAL

FANews
FANews
RELATED CATEGORIES
SUB CATEGORIES Short term |  Life |  Legal |  Employee Benefits |  General |  Technology |  Investments / Economy |  Healthcare | 

COVID-19 and guidance for the medical profession

20 May 2020 Natmed Medical Defence
Aneesa Bodiat, Consultant at Natmed Medical Defence

Aneesa Bodiat, Consultant at Natmed Medical Defence

The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has recognised the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak and provided special guidelines that will apply during the pandemic. The HPCSA will continue to operate, but with restrictions. For example, professional conduct inquiries and in-person mediations will be suspended during the lockdown period. Complaints will still be processed, but the council will take into account the extraordinary pressures and unusual circumstances created by the pandemic, in assessing complaints.

The potential need for many more healthcare practitioners to assist with the pandemic is recognised, and therefore practitioners who were on the non-clinical register or applied for voluntary erasure within the past five years will be considered for restoration to the clinical register without needing to meet further requirements. Practitioners coming back into practice may need to consider whether their professional liability insurance cover is adequate (and if they don’t have insurance, they may need to obtain insurance cover).

Practitioners need to keep abreast of government guidelines relating to the treatment of COVID-19 patients, since the pandemic presents unique challenges. One example where the guidelines related to COVID-19 patients is different, relates to dealing with the mortal remains of patients who have passed away due to this disease. The situation is still unfolding and guidance may change as scientific and medical information relating to the disease increases.

The prohibition on specialist doctors acting outside of their specialities will also be lifted, within reason. However, healthcare practitioners who provide healthcare services outside the usual scope of their practice must only do so after giving due regard to their ability to provide such assistance with reasonable skills, and based on a healthcare practitioner’s education, training and experience. Under the COVID-19 guidelines, if a specialist provides the service of a general practitioner, where needed, they cannot charge a specialist fee, but must charge a fee not higher than what a general practitioner would have charged for that service.

Healthcare practitioners must always act reasonably. The actions of a doctor, for example, will be judged against the standard of the reasonable doctor (not the reasonable layperson), in the specific circumstances.

Healthcare practitioners are now allowed to offer telemedicine and telehealth services more freely, in that a prior in-person relationship with a patient is not required before telehealth services are provided, if this is in the best interests of the patient. However, the ethical rules of conduct still apply and practitioners are urged by the council not to over-service or overcharge patients when providing telehealth services.

Labour law guidelines should also be remembered. Employers must provide employees with a safe working environment, and in the case of the healthcare industry, this would include Personal Protective Equipment.

Finally, healthcare practitioners are encouraged to focus on taking care of their own physical and mental wellbeing, because the road ahead may be long and the end to the pandemic may be many months away.

Quick Polls

QUESTION

ASISA’s lobbying of the SARB to suspend Circular 15, which contained significant changes to foreign exchange controls. What is your take on this accusation?

ANSWER

[a] ASISA was right to seek clarity on Circular 15
[b] Large asset managers are conflicted & will suffer financially if Circular 15 stands
[c] Savers get enough exposure to offshore assets under existing Reg 28
[d] Who cares?
fanews magazine
FAnews November 2020 Get the latest issue of FAnews

This month's headlines

Customer experience in the ‘now’ generation
Is our industry a tainted industry?
How to keep brokers out of the firing line
Getting to grips with contractual versus delictual liability
International trusts and tax consequences
The COVID-19 pandemic and medical schemes
Subscribe now