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Doctors anxious over backlogs following HPCSA's order on CPD

Some doctors have warned their regulator, the SA Health Profession’s Council (HPCSA), against creating an “administrative nightmare” that could potentially delay doctor registrations and cost medics even more in future, reports TimesLIVE.

This after the HPCSA made it mandatory for doctors to submit records of their continuous professional development (CPD) activities. To ensure that health professionals maintain and update their professional competence in the interest of the public and for the safety of their patients, the regulatory body requires practitioners meet certain requirements by submitting evidence of their learning activities such as conference presentations and workshops as well as structured courses that have helped them acquire new or updated knowledge.

While doctors had always been required to record this knowledge to remain compliant, they say in the past only doctors who were randomly selected for audit, were required to tender such records.

But during the COVID-19 pandemic, they allege, the HPCSA has introduced a new online portal that makes the submission of these documents mandatory, resulting in backlogs at the council.

Doctors claim that the new administrative requirement has the potential of delaying registrations as it is linked to the registration of doctors. While the council hasn’t prevented doctors from registering, some fear that the backlog of certificates needing verification would result in an administrative nightmare, notes the TimesLIVE report.

“I think that they are creating a perfect storm. They're building a system which is ultimately not going to be able to function or it's going to cost so much more to make it function and add layers of administrative complexity that are not worth the change to the process,’ said a Cape Town academic and a specialist in the private sector.

The SA Medical Association (SAMA) said it is aware of backlogs at HPCSA since the portal had been introduced. SAMA chairperson Dr Angelique Coetzee said the doctor unions remain concerned about approval delays, and are currently working with the HPCSA to fast-track the processing of these essential documents.

HPCSA spokesperson Christopher Tsatsawane said while the uploading of documents to the online portal, which was activated in October 2020, had resulted in a substantial backlog due to the sheer number of doctors submitting their certificates, this process didn’t impede renewal of registrations.

“The CPD compliance is not linked to registration or renewal of registration. Practitioners can finalise their registration without consideration of continuous professional development.The HPCSA plans to clear the CPD backlog soon.”


TimesLIVE article – Doctors anxious as HPCSA introduces an online skills directory (Open access)


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