- The Health Professions Council of South Africa initially said doctors who qualified overseas will have to do their community service there before they can write the SA board exam
- However, the HPCSA has now backtracked on their decision and confirmed students who qualified abroad can write their board exam without the community service overseas
- The group will have to be split in 2, as the exam venue cannot accommadate them all at once
More than 200 local students, who studied medicine overseas, are celebrating after the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) confirmed they can write the South African medical board exams.
Last month,. the HPCSA decided to enforce a regulation proposed in 2009, which compels returning doctors to do internships in their countries of study to be eligible to write the HPCSA’s board exams to practise in South Africa.
On 16 February, applicants received a letter which informed them of the enforcement of the regulation, but this was problematic for them as completing internships in their countries of study was not possible. According to a report by IOL. it was mostly because of the difficulty of getting work permits.
This then forced scores of doctors to collectively launch a lawsuit against the HPCSA.
Meanwhile, Kapil Sevnaran, a KwaZulu-Natal doctor, lodged an urgent application in the Gauteng High Court early in March to appeal the decision.
Briefly.co.za learned that Sevnaran’s application stated the HPCSA conducted itself “unethically and inefficiently” to the detriment and prejudice of young, aspiring South African doctors in a country facing a huge shortage of doctors.
Pravda Knowles and Associates' attorney, Annie Tooray, who lodged the application, confirmed the HPCSA was communicating with her regarding the appeal against the regulation.
In an email Tooray received from the council, the HPCSA's Doreen Musemwa confirmed the affected doctors were now eligible to write the board exams in May, June, October or November. Musemwa said when the doctors will write will depend on the number of applications received by the regulatory body.
Musemwa wrote in the email that the group would have to be split into two, because the exam venue can only cater for 120 people: "We received applications from close to 220 applicants. Each applicant will be advised on which sitting they have been allocated to.”
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