HPCSA sets the record straight on why foreign-trained doctors cannot practice in SA just yet
Last week, The Mercury reported about a South African doctor who received his medical qualification abroad and was still waiting to be registered with the HPCSA since 2017.
The doctor, who requested to remain anonymous, said there were dozens of foreign-trained doctors in the same predicament, including the group who sat for the last exam in January. He also questioned the validity of the HPCSA’s long and onerous registration process.
In its response, the HPCSA said it regulates the registration of practitioners who have met all the requirements for registration, but did not confirm the number of applicants still awaiting approval.
HPCSA spokesperson Priscilla Sekhonyana said delays were caused by non-compliance of applicants.
Sekhonyana said the delay in the processing of applications could be due to factors such as incomplete submission of evidence required for registration, including a list of documents with specific submission criteria.
“The turnaround time depends on when an application was made and when the board examinations are scheduled,” she said.
Currently, the board examinations are scheduled twice a year, Sekhonyana said.
She said following the examinations the board has to approve the results and their release.
The HPCSA said there were no issues with the number of candidates who could sit for the exam.
Sekhonyana said the examination was taken online, over a period of days, from which the candidates could select the date convenient for them to sit for the exam.
She said the clinical component was determined by the university contracted to administer the examinations.
“The HPCSA is currently administrating two examinations per year. Now that the exams are conducted online, the board may consider having more than two exams in a year.
“Candidates are informed of the rules and security to adhere to prior to the examination,” she said.
The examination was predicated on minimum competency and ethical standards within the South African context, legislation and international practice, she said.
“The written examinations cover the common basic science, general signs, symptoms, management and skills required of a medical practitioner to practise competently in the profession,” she said.
The aggrieved doctor also raised concerns that the practical component of the exam had an extremely high failure rate, and that applicants were not allowed to view their marked transcripts.