Doctor challenges ‘€˜unfair’€™ dismissal from Mpumalanga

Doctor challenges ‘€˜unfair’€™ dismissal from Mpumalanga

A Mpumalanga doctor has turned to the Labour Court to challenge what he says was unfair dismissal by the Mpumalanga health department in 2001 for treating rape survivors.

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Dr Malcolm Naude believes his dismissal from the medical officer post at Nelspruit’€™s Rob Ferreira Hospital was for ‘€œacting in accordance with his conscience and medical best practice in treating rape survivors’€.

In 2002, Sibongile Manana, Mpumalanga’€™s Health MEC at the time, fired Dr Thys von Mollendorf, superintendent of Rob Ferreira Hospital, for allowing the Greater Nelspruit Rape Intervention Project (GRIP), an organisation that supplied antiretrovirals to rape survivors, to operate from the hospital.

In early 2000 the Nelspruit hospital staff (including doctors and nurses), GRIP and the South African Police Services and joined forces to run a rape crisis centre.

Part of the service provided by GRIP included funding survivors’€™ antiretrovirals that had been prescribed by the doctors as part of a package of treatment.

At the time, the policy of the Mpumalanga Department of Health was opposed to the prescribing of antiretrovirals. The Mpumalanga Department of Health had issued an instruction that hospital doctors were not permitted to prescribe anti-retroviral drugs.

‘€œDr Naude and other doctors at the hospital took the view that this was an unwarranted interference in the exercise of their professional judgment and discretion in making clinical and ethical decisions in the care and treatment of patients. They continued to prescribe antiretrovirals where this was required,’€ said Naude’€™s attorney, Dan Pretorius.

In February 2001, the Mpumalanga Department of Health formally requested GRIP to vacate the care-rooms where it offered services at the hospital and then started legal proceedings against the organization to prevent it from operating from the hospital premises.

Naude made a sworn statement in support of GRIP’€™s case opposing the eviction, which the Mpumalanga Department of Health and the court received in June 2001.

Oosthuizen said that after Naude’€™s opposition to the ‘€˜eviction’€™ of GRIP from the hospital, and his support for GRIP’€™s work became known to the Mpumalanga Department of Health, they terminated his services. ‘€“ Health-e News Service.