Centurion doctor Stephen Grieve to face medical watchdog again over misconduct complaints
Pretoria - Centurion medical doctor David Stephen Grieve is set to once again face the Professional Conduct Committee of the South African Health Professions Council (HPCSA) regarding complaints of misconduct.
He is accused of persuading patients to invest in a company of which he was a director.
Grieve earlier managed to stop the health watchdog’s probe into his conduct, arguing that the latter had no business meddling in his affairs. He said his business was separate from his medical practice and that the entity could thus not deal with issues relating to his business.
Upholding this point, the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, earlier found the doctor’s conduct did not relate to “treatment” of his patients, or the health profession, thus it could not probe his conduct.
The HPCSA, however, turned to the Supreme Court of Appeal, which held that the health watchdog had to oversee the conduct of medical professionals registered with this body and to oversee that they at all times acted ethically.
Grieve, appeared before the Professional Conduct Committee in November 2014, charged with unprofessional conduct.
It was claimed, among others, that from 2004 to 2009 he improperly persuaded a number of his patients to invest in a financially distressed company of which he was a director.
He apparently transferred funds invested in that company to his private bank account.
He was charged with contravening the norms and standards of his profession; alternatively, bringing the good name of his profession into disrepute by persuading some of his patients and former patients to invest in a company of which he was a director. This, it was said, while he knew that the company was in financial distress.
Other charges related to him transferring funds invested in his company into his private bank account, and allegedly causing financial prejudice to his patients.
Grieve objected to the committee instituting disciplinary proceedings against him, and maintained that the basis of the charges did not constitute unprofessional conduct as they did not relate to the health profession.
His victory on this point was, however short-lived, as five appeal judges have now referred the matter back to the health watchdog.
They said in terms of the law, the council, among others, bears extensive supervisory functions which include protection of the public from conduct arising during the rendering of health services; the maintenance of professional and ethical standards within the profession; and a duty to protect the interests of the public against a medical practitioner.
“The council is therefore not merely a medical malpractice watchdog; it is also the primary guardian of morals of the health profession,” the judges said in an unanimous judgment.