Health Professions Council: New Leadership, New Dawn?

Health Professions Council: New Leadership, New Dawn?

Eleven enrolling in 11 years, Dr. Magome Masiki has become the latest in the hot seat on the turbulent Health Professions Council. He’s not shy about this embarrassing record as he quotes the number.

Masik is a qualified medical doctor turned businessman and ANC politician. He previously served as Mayor of Klerksdorp (now Matlusana City Council) and held the position of Health MEC North West between 2010 and 2018. He was sacked when Job Mokgoro became Prime Minister.

“things got worse”

Masiki comes to HPCSA after high drama in 2021 when then-CEO, Dr David Mutao – two months into his term – was placed on precautionary suspension Pending investigation into allegations of misconduct. In March 2022, Mutao failed in a Supreme Court attempt to overturn his HPCSA suspension. like spotlight mentionedMutao was facing charges of contravening sections of the Public Finance Management Act in a case involving alleged corruption payments of up to R8.7 million during his tenure as department head in the Free State Department of Health.

Since Mutao’s exit from the position, Melissa de Graaf has served and Dr. Thabo Benkwan has followed as Acting Executive Director and Registrar.

The HPCSA, as a statutory body, aims to raise and uphold standards and ethics in the health professions to protect users of public health care and ensure that health services in the country meet specific standards. It oversees 12 professional councils and is mandated under the Health Act to direct the education, training and registration of practicing health professionals.

Masik admits it spotlight that there is a general deepening suspicion and loss of confidence, and he acknowledges that these are clear symptoms of things gone wrong for the board.

For at least more than a decade, the HPCSA has been routinely subjected to mismanagement, mismanagement, and administrative irregularities. like spotlight It has been reportedConflicts of interest continue to arise, as do unsettled issues regarding the possibility of separating boards from the board and the need for clearer delineation of functions among their internal structures.

The Ministerial Working Group’s investigation in 2015 revealed a range of irregularities and challenges in the institution and made several recommendations for arranging the House of Representatives. The results included senior HPCSA staff unfit to hold office. widespread misconduct; irregular expenses; and failure to manage operations efficiently. The institution has also been subject to various investigations by the Special Investigation Unit (SIU). For example, one Special Investigations Unit investigation from 2019 resulted in the preventive suspension in 2021 of several officials involved in allegations of bribery in recording operations.

A ministerial task force investigation in 2015 revealed a range of irregularities and challenges in the HPCSA and made several recommendations for the council house arrangement. (Photo: Denvor de Wee/Spotlight)

Recently, in June, another SIU report was submitted to Masike. Before announcing these results, Masiki said spotlight The show is “not the best news for us”. He acknowledges that the “evidence-based” findings against HPCSA cannot be ignored.

Also in June, the National Union of Education, Health and Allied Workers wrote to Parliament, calling for action against HPCSA board members and the HPCSA president Professor Simon Nemutandani In relation to allegations of what the union says are irregular bonus approvals. Clarity about which activities qualify for remuneration is required, Masiki says.

Not a popularity contest

Sitting in his office in Pretoria for the interview, Masiki begins by dismissing suggestions that his five-year appointment is merely a political position and that he simply see his final years of work before retiring. Maski is a father of three adult children with his wife, Masumu, a physical therapist.

“This is not a popularity contest job, nor do I intend to go anywhere before my time is up,” he says.

Read more at The Daily Maverick: Long March for Refunds – Double discounts and frustrations with SA Health Professions Council

Masike is credited, during his tenure at North West health MEC, for merging the Tshepong and Klerksdorp Hospitals when they were divided along ethnic lines and characterized by unequal services to the community. The son of two mining unionists, he grew up and says this is how his activism took hold. Masike also has a background in designing continuing professional development programs in the health sector and had a role in business development at computer technology company Oracle. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Public Health.

Management issues

Various HPPCSA members who spoke to spotlight You have complaints about lengthy registration processes and unstable administrative systems that need to be completed to continue your professional development points. For many, the importance of the institution fades after the practice number is issued and subscriptions are collected. There is also criticism that the board is out of touch with the reality on the ground and is making unilateral decisions about the likes of training doctors without realistically assessing demand and supply or allocating effective time to the various training modules.

Dr Angelique Coetzee, former president of the South African Medical Association, has been a vocal critic of the slow rate of change in HPCSA. It is particularly scathing about the delay in acting on the recommendations of the regulatory review and reforming administrative and administrative structures after the 2015 ministerial review. It also says that the HPCSA continues to fail to communicate effectively with the public and practitioners.

The New Registrar believes that everyone – no matter who you are – must act within a country’s constitution. (Photo: Denvor de Wee/Spotlight)

She says that Maski’s political loyalties to the ANC and his departure from his role in the MEC “will always be a cloud and raise questions about what happened.”

Coetzee adds: “We need openness and transparency. We need to stop publishing cadres and appointments in government structures should be based on merit. We need strong leadership, especially given the current turmoil in the healthcare sector, and being an ANC member can undermine Masek’s authority in this role.”

Dr. Aslam Dasu of the Forum for Progressive Health raises similar questions about independence. He also pointed to the weakness of the separation between the executive and administrative functions in the Council.

“It seems that regulators, especially in the health sector, have been compromised by inefficiency and corruption, so their powers have been weakened and their objectives are wrong, which has led to very weak regulatory oversight,” he says.

Dr. Magome Masik is one of 11 registrars in HPCSA’s 11 years. (Photo: Denvor de Wee/Spotlight)

Dassault says advocacy to separate the Medical and Dental Professions Council from 11 other health professions continues because this council is seen as supportive of other professional councils but, members say, is not receiving the necessary administrative attention. “It proved pretty disastrous,” he says.

The Competition Commission’s Health Market Survey in 2019 also criticized the HPCSA for not being flexible and innovative enough, particularly with regard to fee-sharing and subcontracting—a barrier to a changing landscape that would allow for more competition and lower costs. health care.

Added to this are the persistent complaints from the public that cases of negligence and malpractice against health professionals remain unresolved. For example, the Women’s Legal Center has publicly criticized the HPCSA, writing in A Daily Maverick condition that “very little has changed at HPCSA” since the ministerial task force’s investigation in 2015.

He also wants to get hung up, even if he “got off and kicked some ass at work.”

Macek believes that transformation will come with organizational change focused on creating internal stability. “HPCSA must have an internal management system that works for us [an] impact on society. An incompetent organization that is not managed properly cannot have an impact on society. So we have to have the right people doing the right job and our finances have to be right.

“We also have to act within the politics — no matter who you are or what country you’re from, or what seniority you have. We operate within a country’s constitution — and that’s why we may not always be popular with our members.

HPCSA continues this month with its high-profile investigation of the Northwest Health MEC Dr. Phofi Ramathoba relating to her conduct and treatment of a patient at Limpopo Hospital in August 2022.

Faster delivery times for complaints

Masike’s hope for the modernization of the Board lies in digitization, integrated information systems and trained personnel who can effectively use these new technologies to improve response times for complaints handling and registration.

“I have bound myself that the turnaround time shall be five days—from the time you put down your papers to when you return to the register,” he said, rising from his seat to show the view from one of his office windows. It overlooks the reception desk. There are people slowly moving rows of chairs to present their papers or to file a complaint.

Read more at The Daily Maverick: The SA Health Professions Council fails victims of medical malpractice, and protects themselves

It recognizes the need to expedite the registration of doctors with foreign qualifications. The registration of overseas-trained physicians has prompted allegations of an uneven distribution in how the HPCSA recognizes qualifications from different parts of the world. Advocating for more transparency in how decisions are made and believing that routine registration procedures cost the country in terms of much-needed specialists. His goal for the council is to make the decision within 30 days.

Dr. Magome Masik acknowledges the need to expedite the registration of doctors with foreign qualifications. (Photo: Denvor de Wee/Spotlight)

Masiki says he understands that HPCSA needs to be adaptable: “Politics must serve us. We are not here to serve politics.” He adds that artificial intelligence and robotics are changing medicine, so new rules are needed. The same regulations as traditional academic paths are being changed with the likes of private medical schools popping up all over the world.

It is the work of balancing numbers, maintaining the quality and standards of professionals, and matching changing needs. He adds that this will come into play as the National Health Insurance moves toward implementation.

Masike has a time frame that should have proven by the end of the year that he has the capable hands needed to steer HPCSA down a better path. He says he chose the open-door policy. He also wants to get hung up, even if he “got off and kicked some ass at work.” It’s a joke, but it’s also a reality. His feet will need to get busy kicking, and lots of it, if the board is to have any hope of meaningful change. DM

This article was published by spotlight Health journalism for the public good.

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