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Using a Locum in your Medical Practice

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.


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The Issue of Upfront Payments

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.

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