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Guidelines for reporting a case of Professional Misconduct

 

Patients have the RIGHT to lodge a complaint about professional misconduct

The South African Nursing Council is responsible for setting and maintaining the standards of nursing and midwifery practice in South Africa.  The Nursing Council will investigate any complaint of conduct that violates the high standards of care to which a patient is entitled.

You have the right to lodge a complaint with the Nursing Council about the alleged misconduct of a nursing or midwifery professional/student.  The rules and ethical principles on which professional conduct enquiries are based can be found on the South African Nursing Council website under Regulations.

 

Examples of acts and omissions which are regarded as professional misconduct by the Nursing Council

bulletFailure to give the required treatment to a patient
bulletFailure to keep accurate and complete records of all nursing care provided to a patient
bulletGiving confidential information about a patient to unauthorized persons
bulletNeglect to or delay in obtaining medical assistance for a patient
bulletFailure to prevent injury or accident to a patient
bulletTheft from a patient, or a deceased person)
bulletPatient assault (physical, sexual or verbal)
bulletArson and attempted murder
bulletPatient left unattended
bulletMisuse of medication
bulletForcing a patient to sign a consent for a surgical procedure
bulletEtc.

 

How the Nursing Council deals with complaints

  1. For each written complaint received, the nursing or midwifery practitioner/student concerned is identified
  2. The matter is investigated and all relevant information is obtained
  3. A report is submitted to the Preliminary Investigation Committee
  4. The Preliminary Investigation Committee may either impose a fine, or refer the complaint to the Professional Conduct Committee for a professional conduct inquiry
  5. In the latter case, a formal professional conduct inquiry will be held during which evidence is heard and a finding reached.

A nursing or midwifery practitioner/student who is found guilty in accordance with the Nursing Act, 2005 (Act No. 33 of 2005) is liable to one or more of the following penalties:

bulletremoval from the register of practitioners/students;
bulletsuspension from practising/training;
bulleta caution;
bulleta repremand;
bulleta fine;  or
bulletpayment of the costs of the proceedings.

The South African Nursing Council and the Department of Health share a deep concern for patients' rights.  The Nursing Council is committed to the speedy and effective handling of complaints.

 

Ethical Nursing

The fundamental responsibilities of a nursing or midwifery practitioner/student are:

bulletTo promote and restore health
bulletTo prevent illness
bulletTo alleviate suffering
bulletTo respect the right to life
bulletTo preserve human life and dignity
bulletTo treat all persons as total human beings
bulletTo respect each person's uniqueness and personal values, beliefs and traditions
bulletTo respect the right of health care users to freedom of choice
bulletTo preserve and enhance health of health care users
bulletTo provide the highest quality of nursing/midwifery care

An ethical problem arises when the conduct of a nursing or midwifery practitioner/student negatively affects a patient or health care user.

 

How to lodge a complaint

Your complaint will be treated as confidential.

 

The complaint must be in writing (preferably in the form of an affidavit) detailing:

bulletThe place, date and time of the incident
bulletThe conduct complained about
bulletThe names and particulars of persons involved and witnesses (if any)

Be specific and give as much information as possible

Please supply your name, address and contact numbers - so that the Nursing Council can contact you.

 

Send this to:

The Registrar
South African Nursing Council
Private Bag X132, Pretoria, 0001, Republic of South Africa

Telephone: 012 420-1000

Fax: 012 426 9553

E-mail: professional.conduct@sanc.co.za

Website: www.sanc.co.za

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