NHCPA urges doctors to report spying medical aids

The 'Sunday Times' reported that 19 medical aid schemes have been implicated in using spies to expose fake payments or patients.

Picture: Freeimages.com

JOHANNESBURG - The National Health Care Professionals Association (NHCPA) has called on doctors to immediately report medical aids that use hidden cameras and spies.

The Sunday Times reported that 19 medical aid schemes, including Discovery Health, have been implicated in using spies to expose fake payments or patients.

But the association says the schemes also plant hidden cameras to withhold payment from doctors suspected of misconduct.

The association says it doesn't understand why medical aids are using spies and hidden cameras, adding that doctors need to speak up.

The association's president, Dr Donald Gumede, says this amounts to invasion of privacy, especially for patients.

"Why are they not reporting criminals to the police? Why call me to your offices to extort money from me?"

Gumede says that medical aids have no jurisdiction to act in this way.

"They have become the police officers, prosecutors, judges and prison warders."

He says the association has asked the courts for clarity on whether medical aids can withhold payments without proving allegations of misconduct.


The association has filed papers in the High Court in Pretoria. It's understood that most of the schemes will oppose the court application.

The association has singled out Discovery Health, accusing the scheme of mounting cameras in doctors’ rooms in violation of the Constitution.

According to the report, Discovery has "over the years engaged in the practice of sending probes and/or spies and/or private investigators with concealed video cameras and recorders into the private consultation rooms of the applicant's members without the knowledge and consent of the [doctor]".

However, the schemes have denied that they've been spying on doctors, saying fraud cases are on the rise, costing them millions of rand a year.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)