Tebogo Msimanga |
The South African Medical Association (SAMA) says it condemns the precautionary suspension of Dr Tim de Maayer of Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital. Dr De Maayer was suspended after criticizing the state of healthcare provided to children at the hospital.
SAMA CEO Dr Vusumuzi Nhlapho said the decision to suspend Dr De Maayer is shockingly inappropriate and threatens to curb the legitimate raising of concerns regarding conditions at state-run facilities by doctors who have taken an oath to put their patients’ needs first.
Nhlapho said doctors are entitled to voice their concerns about conditions and are, in fact, duty-bound to do so. It notes that the Department’s kneejerk reaction to suspend Dr De Maayer is an attempt to suppress the truth about the appalling conditions not only at Rahima Moosa, but in other public hospitals.
“Whatever legal reasons the Department thinks it has for suspending Dr De Maayer, the decision is a poor one and reflects badly on the provincial health administration. The result of this decision will be to further alienate doctors in the public sector and will, undoubtedly, lead to more medical professionals emigrating”.
Nhlapho reiterated that doctors in the public service continue to be prejudiced and treated badly by administrators and cites this instance involving Dr De Maayer, and that of Dr Daniel Sithole in Limpopo as examples.
“Dr Sithole was suspended by provincial authorities following accusations of misconduct against him. A Task Team found no basis for the allegations against him and despite a High Court ruling ordering his suspension be lifted, he is still being denied entry back into the facility where he works”.
Nhlapho further said these two cases point to a concerted campaign by health departments to muzzle critics and prevent the truth about the conditions at their hospitals from reaching the public. “In the end, patients suffer but, it seems, provincial departments of health are less concerned about this, and more concerned about the following procedure, and protecting their images.