Podiatrist Beaten By Technology and Health Professions Council

Regular visitors to the website will have noticed that recent blogs have suddenly disappeared. New visitors will wonder why nothing has appeared for over a month. Well, the administrative cyberstars behind the webmaster decided to carry out a major restructuring of ‘their systems’. As a result, in some remote part of cyberspace concerned with the management of the website the blogs have disappeared. Despite all attempts to find the blogs they seem to have phoned home like ET.

Please be patient and there will be new information up within the next few days.

At present the practice is very busy, which is just as well in view of the recent press release by the registration body in South Africa, the Health Professions Council of South Africa(HPCSA), which basically has recommended that the guideline for fees in future should be the Nationl Health Reference Price List(NHRPL). This is a backdown from the HPCSA position of accepting that a practitioner may charge up to three times the NHRPL.

Since the government took over control of what is usually ‘the Medical Aid Rates’, they have consistently ignored the recommendations of health economists appointed by them to adjust the fees of Health Care Professionals in South Africa.

What this means is continued problems for providers and consumers when dealing with Medical Aids (Insurers). Personally I think that people who value and receive quality healthcare will still be willing to pay for it, IF the financial crisis is not too severe.

Consider this: for spending 30 minutes performing skilled clinical removal of a corn or ingrown toenail,for example, the NHRPL fee is 57.10 SA Rands. Current exchange rates are R1.00 = USD 10.22 and GBP 15.00. Do the maths and see if you can see the value in that. (Of course there are other fees added for consultation and materials), but it is the principle that matters.

I was guest speaker at the graduation ceremony of the podiatry department at the University of Johannesburg, only 5 graduates, the other 12 are deferred until they have finished their research projects. And guess what? The top student is emigrating to Australia!

Look out for Your Career in Podiatry in South Africa, coming to this space soon.

In the meantime if it’s not broken don’t fix it, or you might get beaten by technology!


Andrew has taught at the University as well as providing podiatry services in South Africa since 1977. Twice chair of the Podiatry Association of South Africa and a commentator on care of your feet on both radio and television he now works in private practice in Cape Town and Hout Bay.

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