The South African Medical Association (SAMA) says the annual professional fee increase of 15% by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) for doctors and dentists is unreasonable and unfair.
24 March 2021
On 12 March, the HPCSA convened a meeting which resolved not to increase the annual fees from the previous year for eleven Professional Boards, except for the Medical and Dental Professions Board. On 19 March, the HPCSA gazetted an increase of 15% for the Medical and Dental Professions Board.
“This increase shows an absolute disregard for the financial stress of medical and dental professionals both in the private and public sectors. The COVID-19 pandemic had a major impact on doctors and dentists who were forced to severely cut back on consultations. We believe this increase is discriminatory and makes the absurd assumption that medical and dental practitioners are immune from the financial impact of COVID-19 compared to members of other medical boards,” says Dr Angelique Coetzee, Chairperson of SAMA.
In addition, Dr Coetzee says the HPCSA’s decision to increase fees demonstrates a lack of recognition and appreciation for the dedication of frontline healthcare workers who served the people of South Africa despite the risks this posed to them.
“We have lost many colleagues to this virus in the line of duty but despite this, and the gratitude expressed by the public and government for the work being done, there is still this inconsiderate increase. Healthcare workers in other countries are venerated and applauded but in South Africa their expertise and dedication are ignored,” says Dr Coetzee.
SAMA has called on the Minister of Health and the President to review the decision by the HPCSA, and to apply the same considerations on the Medical and Dental Professions Board as has been applied to other Professional Boards.
“It’s vital for our medical community, already extremely stretched, to believe in the support and recognition of our regulator and government, not to feel maligned through what is clearly an unfair increase to their annual fees,” concludes Dr Coetzee.
Issued by Simonia Magardie, Head of PR & Communications, 24 March 2021