State doctors pocket with private practices: report

26 August 2011 - 09:53 By Sapa

Eastern Cape doctors have been ordered to stop attending to their private practices while on the government's clock.

Doctors were neglecting their core duties at hospitals and clinics while making money on the side, provincial health superintendent general Siva Pillay said, in a report on the Dispatch Online on Friday.

He said that more than 40 percent of all state specialists were attending to private work in the province.

A survey by the department found that two specialists claimed R781,000 and R421,000 from medical aids for work done between January and June.

The survey, focused on Mthatha, found that specialists billed medical aids R8 million in that period.

"It is crazy. They are supposed to be on site, working for the department but instead they are treating private patients," Pillay said.

"What happens during a medical emergency?"

The department would not lay charges against offenders but amend the policy dictating remunerated work outside the public service.

"We are amending it. Making it stricter. Priority will be given to the government from now on," he said.