SAMA calls for protection of patients’ rights during protests

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The South African Medical Association (SAMA) has reiterated its call for doctors to always act in the best interests of their patients when participating in protest action. 

The call follows reports that protest action has spread to health facilities outside the North West province, where doctors and other healthcare workers are reportedly being prevented from attending to patients. 

SAMA chairperson, Dr Mzukisi Grootboom, said the association previously issued a statement condemning the consequences of the current protest action in the North West, which is affecting hospitals, staff and patients.  

Grootboom said patients are reportedly being prevented from entering hospitals to get treatment.

“In certain instances, it is alleged that some healthcare workers have joined the protestors. SAMA is extremely troubled by these reports and reiterates that these actions are unacceptable. 

"Conduct during protest action must be responsible and ethical. Patients’ continued access to healthcare services cannot be impeded. It is both unlawful and ethically reprehensible for patients to be harmed during protest actions,” Grootboom said. 

Should doctors join in the protest action, they are reminded of their ethical duty to always act in the best interests of their patients, Dr Grootboom said. –