You are on the TAC legacy website. Please visit our new website: www.tac.org.za

TAC condemns suspension of KZN Doctor Mark Blaylock

  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /usr/www/users/tacaor/public_site/community/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 879.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /usr/www/users/tacaor/public_site/community/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 745.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /usr/www/users/tacaor/public_site/community/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 589.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /usr/www/users/tacaor/public_site/community/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 589.
Printer-friendly versionSend to friendPDF version

KZN MEC for Health takes disciplinary action without good reason against yet another doctor

Kwazulu-Natal is the epicentre of the HIV epidemic in South Africa. 16.5% of people over the age of two are infected with HIV (South African National HIV Survey, 2005).

Mortality among young adults and infants has massively increased in the last decade. It is a province desperately short of health-care resources, particularly doctors willing to work in rural areas.

Despite this, the Kwazulu-Natal (KZN) Department of Health has yet again taken disciplinary action against a doctor without good reason, this time Dr Mark Blaylock of Manguzi hospital. He has been suspended without pay for a month because on 5 February 2008, in an act of anger linked to the charge of misconduct against Dr Colin Pfaff (which was later withdrawn) as well as comments made by the MEC for Health, Ms. Peggy Nkonyeni, questioning the integrity of rural doctors, he took the MEC’s official portrait photo off the wall and put it in the bin.

The letter of suspension can be downloaded here. It accuses Dr Blaylock of disrespect toward the "political head of the KZN Health Department".

Dr Blaylock subsequently formally apologized for this conduct.

We have been informed that a letter from the KZN Department of Health on 22 April states that the punishment is not punitive but a “deterrent” and that “the sanction imposed should be one that will teach him a lesson to conduct himself appropriately and not recommit the offence in future.”

This action is reminiscent of the decision of the state to take disciplinary action against Dr Cosa Gazi when he stated that the Minister of Health should be charged with manslaughter for failing to provide AZT to pregnant women. In a landmark court judgment on 24 March 2006 (Costa Gazidis versus Minister of Public Administration and Others A 2050/04), Judge Bertelsmann (Transvaal Provincial Division) found in favour of the Applicant, Gazi. The judge wrote:

If these comments, or the widespread criticism of the policy not to supply AZT, did cause any prejudice to the department of which the appellant was an officer, such prejudice existed already when the comments were made. There can therefore be no casual link between the appellant’s actions and any prejudice the department may have suffered.

Likewise in this case we would argue that the political head of the provincial health department suffered no further loss of respect or prejudice because of Dr Blaylock's expression of anger.

Ms. Nkonyeni has a track record of incompetence. This includes falsely accusing microbicide researchers of unethically experimenting on people, supporting the charlatan and vitamin salesman Matthias Rath and threatening disciplinary action against Dr Colin Pfaff for raising funds to roll out a model dual therapy programme for the prevention of mother to child HIV transmission.

According to an article in the Mercury (17 April) Nkonyeni is also currently being investigated for corruption. The article states that: 

An affidavit submitted to court by the Scorpions contains allegations that the MEC and other senior members of the health department unlawfully influenced decisions related to the procurement of goods and/or services.

Scorpions investigator Clarence Jones also cited allegations that Nkonyeni had a personal relationship with the owner of a private company that had won a R1,5-million order from the department.

The affidavit, submitted to the Pietermaritzburg magistrate's court earlier this month, was used in support of an application for warrants to search the department's Pietermaritzburg offices and those of Rowmoor, the company which apparently charged the department R1,5-million for a cancer scanner, which it has been claimed could have been supplied for R425,000.

The ANC and government have much work to do to repair the damaged relations with HIV clinicians and health professionals due to the past decade of state-supported AIDS denialism, particularly those who give up privileges and opportunities to work in under-serviced rural areas with disadvantaged communities. The equation seems to be this: you insult an MEC and we suspend you without pay to “teach you a lesson” – one less doctor for one month, which almost certainly means lives lost in Manguzi.

The TAC appeals to the new leadership of the ANC to keep its promises and rid South Africa of the real guilty, self-serving and corrupt officials in the health department.

The TAC appeals to its supporters to protest about the suspension of Dr Blaylock. Fax a letter of disapproval to Ms Peggy Nkonyeni, MEC for Health, Kwazulu-Natal at +27 (0) 33 395 2258. Copy letters to ANC President Jacob Zuma (Fax: 086 633 1402). Demand that Nkonyeni withdraws the suspension of Dr Blaylock.

Comments

In a landmark court judgment

In a landmark court judgment on 24 March 2006 (Costa Gazidis versus Minister of Public Administration and Others. Regards, End tiredness program

We have been informed that a

We have been informed that a letter from the KZN Department of Health on 22 April states that the punishment is not punitive. Regards, tiredness

Good site.The Mugabe

Good site.The Mugabe dictatorship has created a crisis in Zimbabwe that has led to people fleeing from hunger, political repression, and the collapse of health care.Thanks for the cool stuff.Plastic Surgery

Good sharing.The Scorpions

Good sharing.The Scorpions contains allegations that the MEC and other senior members of the health department unlawfully influenced decisions related to the procurement of goods and/or services.

regards, Russian Train Tickets


 

This includes falsely

This includes falsely accusing microbicide researchers of unethically experimenting on people, supporting the charlatan and vitamin salesman Matthias Rath and threatening disciplinary action against Dr Colin Pfaff for raising funds to roll out a model dual therapy programme for the prevention of mother to child HIV transmission.Great sharing in for further uses.

facia plate

 

It's not the first time that

It's not the first time that doctors get the blame no matter if it was or not their fault. I agree that some doctors deserve to go to jail or at least lose their practice but this isn't the case. Something similar happened at the hospital where I get treated. It involved my doctor. I was reading about a method of lowering blood sugar and keep my diabetes under control so I proposed it to my doctor. He said I'll have to come back again another time because he had to go to court as someone blamed him for losing a member of his family. Of course, it wasn't the doctor's fault as the patient was very sick and his chances were slim to begin with. Sometimes, people blame the doctors out of grief and pain.

Contact details for Mrs Nkonyeni

Here are the MEC's contact details (from her official contact page http://www.kznhealth.gov.za/minister.htm)

Telephone: (033) 395 2016

Fax: (033) 395 2258

E-mail: neliswa.nkonyeni@kznhealth.gov.za

Mark's apology

Its time that this stops. If we do not do anything about it and continue to let the goverment get away with its behaviour we will yet again be responsible for letting our patients down for doing nothing about the AIDS crisis. Where are the health unions in all of this what is SAMA doing? Also we become more and more a source of intrnational ridicule! Are we as health workers going to allow the govement to run rough shode over us and our patients again? Mark should not have to apologise for his behaviour he should be commended for going theextra mile...and yet we have allowed yet again the intimidation of one of us so that the goverment can avoid teh emarrasment they so justly deserve ! All the trade and health unionsdshould led by SAMA do something about this!

Mark Blaylock

I am a specialist working at an Eastern Cape state hospital. The repressive and intimidating culture that has emerged with respect to health professionals making public utterances dictates that i remain anonymous. The attitude, arrogance and approach of politicians and beaurocrats within the Dept of Health to this latest crisis involving Mark Blaylock are scandalous. Patients continue to suffer as a result of inadequate health services (especially for the rural poor), mortality and morbidity continues to rise as a result of mismanagement, the culture of HIV-AIDS denialism continues unabated, TB continues to run rampant and unaddressed, mother and child health care continues to be woefully under-resourced, mental health continues to be under-prioritised, and the state health system continues to crumble from the ineptitude of its managers. On a background of such a national health crisis, the government should be doing all it can to attract, retain and reward the thousands of health professionals that dedicate their working lives to their patients, epecially those working in rural areas where working conditions are stressful, workloads extreme, beaurocracy disabling, and health problems overhwelming in extent. Instead, doctors, nurses and other health professionals are criticised, gagged, marginalised and harassed. Is it any wonder that many choose to leave the state health service? Until the self-centredness, narcissism, ineptitude and petty, self-righteous hypocrisy of politicians and health department officials continues unchecked, patients and their families will continue to suffer, our health sysytem will continue to falter, and true accountability and a 'better life for all' will remain a distant dream.