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Healthcare: Enough already

09 March 2006 Healthe

Kerry Cullinan at the Healthe News Service reports that the Allied Health Registrar and half-sister quit after 'continuous allegations of nepotism'.

The Registrar of the Allied Health Professions Council of SA, Leonie MacDonald, and her half-sister and Council manager Beverley Kidson, have resigned following a report of corruption and nepotism compiled by Health-e and published by Independent Newspapers.

Confirming her resignation, MacDonald said that in view of the continuous allegations of nepotism, which harm the good name of the Council, I feel that it is the honourable thing to do.

She added that, after almost 10 years as Registrar, it was time to step down and make way for transformation of Council management staff.

The statutory council was set up by government to regulate natural health therapists such as homeopaths, reflexologists, acupuncturists and Chinese healers who treat thousands of South Africans every year.

However, a wide range of therapists claim that corrupt officials have been selling registration certificates, while others claim that the council is blocking them from registering or charging them large amounts of money to do so.

One of the most serious complaints was made by Chinese national Gao Yu, who claims in an affidavit that Dr Kun Yu from the councils Professional Board for Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, offered to register him as a Chinese doctor and secure him a work permit for R20 000.

Kun Yu has denied the claim. But the Council, which was sent Gao Yus affidavit over a year ago, has not investigated the matter and MacDonald said she knew nothing about it.

Another key complaint is that the council "operates like a club, favouring its buddies" who do training, while trying to close down the schools of others not part of its "clique".

Some therapists say that they have waited for over four years to be registered. Others say that although they have paid fees every year, they have never been issued with practice numbers so their patients cannot claim for treatment from medical aids.

All the claims were denied by MacDonald.

She and Kidson will be pursuing private interests when they leave the Council at the end of the month, said MacDonald.

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