Young doctor ‘silenced’ after bullying, racist, sexist culture complaint

BY 

On 

June 29, 2017
Young doctor ‘silenced’ after bullying, racist, sexist culture complaint

Doctor Yumna Moosa Photo: Facebook

Junior doctor Yumna Moosa says the Health Professions Council of SA has failed to protect doctors' freedom to identify and communicate problems in the health system without fear of retribution.

This comes after the council told her that her complaint that an “old boys’ club” has been bullying and promoting a culture of racism and sexism in hospitals was not worth further investigation.

Moosa, who is doing her community service, said she was informed that her complaint did not warrant a professional misconduct hearing and that what she had submitted was insufficient evidence to suggest that any professional misconduct had occurred.

Moosa had last year released a video on YouTube in which she exposed two of her superiors  — one a head of department — who allegedly advised Moosa to destroy the logbook in which she recorded the incident.

“They accepted the respondents’ explanations and they said that my evidence doesn’t make sense. They discounted the voice recordings because they were recorded without permission, although this is completely legal in South Africa, according to the Regulation of Interception of Communications Act of 2002,” she said.

The council on Monday said Moosa had been invited for a consultation together with the respondents on January 19 and 20 this year where a decision taken was that the case against the respondents be closed due to lack of evidence of unprofessional conduct.

On Monday, Moosa said both the national and KwaZulu-Natal health departments had been no help.

“The provincial department supported Addington (Hospital) and its doctors.

“The national department (including the minister’s office) promised to investigate, but a year later they have not done so.

“Pursuing legal recourse is prohibitively expensive, and in any event I don’t want to sue a public health system already crippled by litigation-related debt. I want to make things better, not worse,” she said.

The Junior Doctor’s Association of SA said it remained resolute on the necessity and right of every junior doctor in South Africa to a safe working environment free of any discrimination, harassment or bullying.

Moosa said she would continue to provide support and guidance to a number of young doctors suffering similar difficulties.

“It broke me. I suffered panic attacks for a year or so. I lost friends. And I often doubted myself, my memory, my judgement. This whole experience has also helped me to grow.”

“But also I’ve learnt that truth doesn’t seem to matter, only power. It doesn’t seem to matter what is said, but who says it.”

Recommended for you