Whistleblower doctors charged

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Eastern Cape -

Eastern Cape health authorities have acted against three doctors who allegedly spoke about the state of hospital infrastructure in the province.

“The doctors have not been charged yet, but have been asked to give reasons why action cannot be taken against them,” provincial health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said on Monday.

“They held a press briefing without authority. This is not about them talking to the media.”

The doctors allegedly spoke to the media about the poor state of equipment at Dora Nginza, Livingstone and Port Elizabeth provincial hospitals.

However, the SA Medical Association (Sama) insisted the doctors had been charged.

“Kupelo is just playing with words. They have charged them. They are just now following standard labour practice,” Sama chairman Mark Sonderup said.

“Appreciating the desperate situation in which they find themselves, we fully support our members’ actions.”

He said the Eastern Cape health department had to be reminded that doctors had a moral and ethical duty to point out deficiencies that would cause harm to patients.

“This is not a political issue, it is an ethical one,” said Sonderup.

“Instead of the high-handed approach being taken by the department, we call on them to meaningfully engage so that the endemic problems in this department can be attended to.”

Last week, the department denied being unable to maintain equipment at state hospitals in the province.

The Dispatch Online earlier reported the department had a R22 billion infrastructure and maintenance backlog, which was crippling service delivery. - Sapa

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