Mediclinic: SMS about not admitting patients unsure of COVID-19 status an error

The National Health Care Professional Association revealed that the medical company issued the instruction to its doctor through SMSes.

FILE: A picture taken on 28 March 2013 shows a partial view of the Mediclinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Private hospital group Mediclinic said that its communication to doctors that they should not admit patients who couldn’t prove they don’t have COVID-19 was an error.

The National Health Care Professional Association revealed that the medical company issued the instruction to its doctors through SMSes.

But Mediclinic said that confusion had since been cleared up.

The National Health Care Professionals Association’s Dr Donald Gumede said they were concerned when their doctors received SMSes instructing them not to admit patients who couldn’t prove they were COVID-19 free.

“Now if hospitals are going to deny people treatment because they’ve got certain diseases, then that’s wrong. It disregards the fundamental principle - you can’t deny patients treatment.”

But Mediclinic’s Dr Stefan Smuts said that message was an error: “It was an erroneous message in which the doctors were subsequently sent the correct message. It only relates to elective surgery and elective admission.”

He said that all patients who needed emergency medical care at the hospital would be admitted whether or not they had their COVID-19 results.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.