An Open Letter to the HPCSA

Subject: An Open Letter to the HPCSA
From: An angry registrar.
Date: 4 Mar 2022

My open letter to HPCSA.

We, the practitioners that ensure your very existence, would like to know why you feel the need to abuse us by unilaterally increasing the our annual fee this year, for the third year in a row.

According to your publicly available annual report from 2020/2021, you registered 30 000 practitioners. These obviously vary between interns/medical officers/specialists, etc. And if we are to use a Conservative estimate of 20 000 independent practitioners, this would mean that your fees for this year would amount to R3266 × 20 000 = R65 320 000.

We, the practitioners that ensure your very existence, would like to know what exactly this money went towards, and will go towards, and why such a massive increase is needed in the first place.

In a publicly available response dated 04/03/2022, it was stated by your president, Prof Nemutandani, "that Council at its meeting held on 10 December 2021 approved the budget for 2022/2023 financial year and by doing so effectively approving fee increases for practitioners under the Medical and Dental Professions Board". Firstly, who cares about what some council decided behind closed doors. But more importantly, where is the opportunity for practitioners to comment, to have a chance to respond? We, the practitioners that ensure your very existence, were not even given the opportunity to engage on this matter. Your organisation exists due to the compliance of practitioners who pay you yearly. Yet you feel the need to disrespect us with a pitiful response such as this to a legitimate concern that is shared throughout the profession- that we already pay you far too much for a service we don't even receive.

It is not unreasonable to be concerned about the HPCSA's continued attempts to meet its financial targets through increasing the financial burden on healthcare practitioners. As well as concerns over the gross inability to perform its basic mandate as the "regulator" of the profession. You do not hear us, nor do you even attempt to.

We, the practitioners that ensure your very existence, feel as though you do not do anything for us, that we are not supported by you and that it is pretty much an exercise in futility asking anything of the HPCSA. One only needs to read your Google/Hello Peter/ Facebook reviews to see countless practitioners frustrated by your continued and consistent incompetence- waiting 6 months for a document as simple as a certificate of good standing, as a recent pertinent example of your gross ineptitude.

One also only needs to look at the HPCSA's pathetic response to the recent Professor Beale/ Dr Munshi debacle to know that we, the practitioners that ensure your very existence, cannot rely on you to support or protect us, and that we are essentially on our own.

We, the practitioners that ensure your very existence, feel that instead of increasing your annual fees, you should be discounting them as a show of solidarity for the past two years of complete sacrifice by all practitioners across the country in assisting our country during the pandemic.

We, the practitioners that ensure your very existence, would also require a very detailed financial breakdown of the millions you receive from us each year, including evidence of a clean audit. Those documents technically can be found online, but with great difficulty and are ensconced with a lot of political talking points, which as a healthcare regulator, you should not be involving yourself in. The healthcare practitioner regulating authority of South Africa (ie: HPCSA), should not be holding such extreme or one-sided partisan/ political opinions. It is not the mandate of the regulator who is to protect the profession to also be a lobbying organisation to government.

Furthermore, you do not speak for all of us. Should you continue to speak publicly on behalf the profession, the professionals that you speak for should have a say in a democratic sense. This would mean active engagement and some form of voting system for health related matters. Not all 30 000 practitioners that you claim to represent agree with the talking points you parrot to parliament and in your infrequent public statements.

We, the practitioners that ensure your very existence, are finally ready to tell you that enough is enough. We do not trust in your organisation. And instead of insulting us the way you have, you should be actively working to regain our trust.

(I myself do not speak for all practitioners, but I know enough that share my sentiments to safely say that I speak for more practitioners than the HPCSA does.)