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Pretoria - A medical doctor had to turn to court to obtain the details of a person who complained to the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) that she was an “impaired practitioner” (not of sound mind). According to the complainant, she should not be allowed to practise medicine.

These allegations turned out to be untrue, but Dr Liana van Dyk had to submit herself to a batch of invasive and embarrassing tests before the HPCSA cleared her.

She now wants to institute damages against the person who tarnished her reputation. The HPCSA relied on a technical defence to deny her this information.

But Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, Judge Norman Davis said it was a public body and Van Dyk was entitled to this information.

“I feel humiliated and degraded, and my reputation has been tarnished as a result of this belittling experience,” Van Dyk said in court papers.

She stressed that she had an untarnished reputation as a physician until someone made malicious claims against her.

The 50-year-old doctor works in integrative care in her own practice. She has no idea who would make the statements against her as she had no enemies. The only altercation she had was a court case against a previous colleague for outstanding fees.

The HPCSA said it received a complaint that Van Dyk suffered from a condition which made her incapable of practising. According to the health committee, “impaired” included a mental or physical condition or the abuse of chemical substances which affected the doctor’s performance.

A psychiatrist was appointed to assess her and a subsequent report was handed to the committee. The doctor also had to submit to extensive drug tests - all of which were negative.

The HPCSA gave her the green light to continue practising, but Van Dyk said she was deeply hurt by the accusations and she wanted to know who had made them so she could take the matter further.

Pretoria News