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Sick Sheet: More Claims Surface

Sick Sheet: More Claims Surface
Sick Sheet Issue
April 22
11:32 2016

Employers have started lodging complaints with the Fiji Medical CouncilFiji Medical Council about other doctors alleged to have given sick sheets on dubious grounds.

Fiji Medical Council chief executive officer and registrar Dharmesh Prasad has confirmed receiving one complaint from an employer regarding another doctor.

He said the employer provided sick sheets that had been issued by the doctor as evidence.

Mr Prasad said as procedure, the allegations had now been put to awaiting the doctor’s response.

It is understood that more employers have enquired about how to lodge complaints about doctors and two more complaints are likely to be lodged with the Secretariat soon.

They are responding to a Fiji Sun expose on a Suva suburb doctor who provided sick sheets to two Fiji Sun staff for conjunctivitis, when they did not have the disease nor exhibit any symptoms of it. The doctor did not examine them and gave no receipt for fees collected.

 

Fiji Medical Council and Fiji Dental Council

Mr Prasad heads both these councils. Any complaints regarding doctors and dentists should be lodged to him and his Secretariat at 1 Brown Street, Suva. He could also be contacted on 3303 647.

Mr Prasad said as per rules of natural justice, the alleged misconduct will be put to the doctor concerned for his or her response.

“There is a formal disciplinary process established by law in relation to complaint against doctors. In general, the Fiji Medical Council has been proactive in relation to falsifying of sick sheets and one will note that such instances have greatly dwindled.”

The Fiji Medical Council in July 2015 had issued a directive on backdating of sick sheets.

Mr Prasad said: “Sick sheets are meant for the purposes of respite for a person suffering from illness. The medical practitioner, after conducting an examination must determine if sick sheet is to be issued.”

When questioned in what circumstances a doctor could be struck off, Mr Prasad said: “As per law, all complaints are either dealt  by the Fiji Medical Council’s conducts committee or for serious matters dealt by the Medical Professional Conducts Tribunal.”

This tribunal has vast powers.

If, after conducting an inquiry the tribunal is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that there is proper cause for disciplinary action against the doctor, the tribunal may, by order—

(a) censure the respondent;

(b) require the respondent to pay to the relevant council a fine not exceeding $20,000;

(c) if the respondent is a registered person—

(i) impose conditions on the respondent’s registration or licence restricting the respondent’s right:

(i) to provide medical treatment generally or in a specified vocational category;

(ii) suspend the respondent’s registration or licence for a period not exceeding one year, generally or in a specified vocational category;

(iii) cancel the respondent’s registration or licence generally or in a specified vocational category;

(iv) cancel the registration and revoke the licence and disqualify the respondent from being registered generally or in a specified vocational category;

(d) prohibit the respondent from carrying on business as a health service provider; and

(e) prohibit the respondent from occupying a position of authority in a corporate health services provider.

Practitioners can be struck off for serious unprofessional misconduct.

Edited by Nemani Delaibatiki

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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