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In private practice, many practitioners make use of a locum, or locum tenens to go on leave, attend overseas conferences or take study leave. It is important to consider the legal consequences of appointing another practitioner to work in your practice.
A locum can either be appointed as an employee or an independent contractor. A locum who is appointed as an employee enjoys the rights of all employees under the Labour Relations Act and The Basic Conditions of Employment Act.
Many private practitioners question their right to ask a patient to make an upfront payment for treatment. The HPCSA's rules state that a doctor should always put the best interest of his or her patient before questions of payment. Three ethical principles must be considered when asking for payments: patient autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and fairness or justice.