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A guide to plastic surgery regulations in South Africa
The South African Ministry of Health holds overall responsibility for health directives and policy. The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is a politically independant body that organizes and regulates South Africa's professions, including its medical ones. A full register of Physicans qualified to practice in South Africa is maintained by the HPCSA.
The Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons of South Africa represents over 98% of registered plastic surgeons in South Africa. It has an address book to locate members. Many plastic surgeons are also registered with the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic surgeons and again details can be verified online.
The basic medical degree takes 6 years. After this a doctor may become a Registrar within one of the specialties recognised by the HPCSA. Specialty training in Plastic Surgery takes a minimum of 4 addtional years of training as a Registrar.
There is an ethical and statutory obligation to engage in continuing education - referred to as Continuing Professional Development. The HPCSA monitors courses that award continuing education units (CEUs), a plastic surgeon has to maintain a balance of 60 CEUs in a 24 month period. Failure to do so will result in the suspension of the licence to practice.
In addition to these mandatory requirements the professional associations organize lectures and courses to enable their members to further enhance their surgical skills.
An ombudsman deals with complaints regarding the medical profession. Findings of the ombudsman may be passed to disiplinary committees organized by the HPCSA. The committees have the power to censure, fine or suspend the right to practice.
Civil proceedings may also be persued and if diciplinary proceeding find behaviour that is criminal in nature they will pass the case to the civil courts.
Storage and Access to Medical Records
The HPCSA publishes guidelines for the storage of medical records - these reflect statutory requirements and the ethical values of the medical profession.
Medical records are generally stored for a minimum of 6 years though some conditions may require the indefinite storage of information. The National Health Act states that all patients have a right to confidentiality - It is the responsibility of the physican to ensure the safety of their patients records.
Additionally the Health Act and the ethical responsiblities of the physican guarrantee a patients access to their medical records and copies of scans, x-rays etc... at a resonable cost.
Medical Schools directory on iime.org:
Ministry of Health website:
The Health Professions Council of South Africa website:
Documents on ethical and professional conduct can be found here.
Recognized qualifications for the practice of Plastic and Reconstructive can be found on the HPCSA's sight here.
Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons of South Africa website:
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