‘Moonlighting’ doctors: KZN DOH must take action

Mark Steele, MPP

DA KZN Alternate Spokesperson on Health

Allegations made yesterday concerning a number of doctors and medical specialists at Grey’s and Edendale Hospitals who, while in full time employ at these public facilities, also run private practices elsewhere in the city are alarming.

‘Moonlighting’ is illegal and compromises the care patients in the public health care system are receiving.

Of concern to the Democratic Alliance is how much the KwaZulu-Natal Health Department knows about these allegations, for how long they have known, and why it has taken so long for decisive action to be taken by the Department.

A reply to a parliamentary question submitted some weeks ago by the DA reveals that the department is currently investigating moonlighting claims against doctors at Grey’s Hospital.  The MEC for Health has indicated that once these investigations are finalised the findings will be handed over to the SA Health Professions Council.

This is simply not good enough.

Professional misconduct is the responsibility of the Council, but the Department of Health is the employer of these doctors and if these allegations are proven correct they are in breach of public service regulations.

The DA expects that the Department will speedily conclude these investigations and then, if necessary, move immediately to whatever disciplinary action is appropriate.

‘Moonlighting’ which goes unpunished undermines both the morale of other medical staff and the integrity of the institutions concerned and the Department must be seen to be acting firmly and decisively.

The DA expects the MEC to treat this matter with the gravity it deserves and to ensure that the probe is fast-tracked.