George Mari, MPP
DA KZN political head – Phoenix constituency
INTERVENTION by the Democratic Alliance has led to the removal of a SASSA-contracted doctor from the provincial health clinic in Whetstone, Phoenix, following a stream of complaints over his off-hand attitude towards patients.
The matter was first brought to the attention of the DA last year, with numerous complaints that the doctor, Dr K Pillay, was not attending to patients properly and always seemed to be in a hurry. The DA took up the issue on behalf of complainants and met with clinic management who subsequently conducted interviews with several affected patients. Management found patients’ claims warranted and the department took a decision to dismiss the doctor with effect 1 January 2012.
According to a recent parliamentary reply to the DA by KZN Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, Dr Pillay was deployed to the Phoenix clinic in April 2011 due to the patient backlog at this office. In his nine months at the Whetstone clinic, Dr K Pillay conducted 2 769 medical assessments with 1 917 applicants supported by him for Disability Grants.
The process of disability grant assessments is complex and open to abuse if proper procedure is not followed. It is essential that patients are properly evaluated if the system is to function effectively. Failure to do so sees genuine candidates denied this much-needed income.
The DA welcomes the department’s decision to remove Dr Pillay. It is unacceptable that a doctor should treat any patient, in particular those with often serious disabilities, with indifference.