Disciplinary proceedings against healthcare practitioners facing criminal charges: The role of the Health Professions Council of South Africa

Health professionals registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) (hereafter referred to as ‘practitioners’) are members of society and are therefore subject to the rule of law. It follows, therefore, that practitioners may be prosecuted for any offence, and in certain circumstances be convicted of an offence. It is for this reason that in the recent case of Van der Walt v S, the apex court held that the notion that doctors must receive special penal treatment to protect their right to freedom and security of a person, which includes the right to not be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way, is without basis. There is hence no reason for an exception to be made where doctors are found, by competent courts, criminally guilty of intentionally or negligently causing the death of patients whose care they were entrusted with.

Informed consent in clinical trials

Clinical research is a vital component to advance healthcare, and the execution of a successful clinical trial depends on recruiting and retaining research participants ethically and voluntarily. Research participants are required to receive enough information about the trial, including what is expected from them, to enable them to give voluntary consent to participate. Apart from the regulatory, ethical and moral aspects of obtaining informed consent (IC), the question remains whether effective communication will be seen as the start of a trust relationship between the researcher and the participant that needs to continue throughout the research study.

Parents’ perceptions of ethical issues in adolescents’ HIV care and treatment at Temeke Regional Referral Hospital, Tanzania

HIV remains a constant threat to the lives of adolescents in Tanzania. Indeed, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported in 2019 that about 1.7 million individuals are living with HIV in Tanzania and nearly 100 000 adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 are infected with the virus. In Tanzania, there is a high prevalence of HIV among adolescents, low uptake of voluntary HIV counselling, low testing rates, and poor adherence to HIV care and treatment. Even after testing and enrolment in health service programmes, adolescents’ adherence to care for their disease is poor.

Public health and the legal regulation of medical services in Algeria: Between the public and private sectors

Governments are involved in supporting the functions of healthcare institutions because of the direct relationship between government functions and the right to health as a human right. The right to health is usually declared in state constitutional legislation. Moreover, each state undertakes to fight pain and epidemics in its territory. But at the same time, states allow the private sector to be active in the health sphere for several reasons. The trend toward economic openness has encouraged states to open the medical space to private medical institutions. Globalisation has become one of the primary challenges confronting health policymakers in terms of health insurance and free treatment.

Developing ethical research behaviour in doctoral students

Scientific research is considered an important foundation of society. Investments in the form of money and time are devoted annually to the generation and dissemination of knowledge. Owing to the impact for society provided by, for example, new technologies, improvements in the quality of life and economic growth, the honesty of research is paramount. Honesty in research is, however, dependent on the researcher’s adherence to ethical research practices, and when researchers stray from these, the integrity of knowledge is damaged. Researchers therefore need to skilfully confront the ethical issues that are inherent in the research process. As cases of unethical research practices continue to emerge, the need to develop and preserve ethical research behaviour is reinforced. In view of the contribution that doctoral students make to the knowledge base, their ethical research behaviour can enhance the integrity of knowledge.


Health Professions Council of South Africa


3 Ethics


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South African Journal of Bioethics and Law - October 2022 Vol 15 No 2