Medical aid and health complaints

Your go-to guide on where to get advice and give complaints to when you have issues relating to South Africa’s private or public health services.

medical aid health complaints
There are various bodies established to investigate the complaint you have against a medical scheme, health practitioner, clinic or hospital. For example, you can report bad service to a manager at a clinic or hospital, or even a provincial helpline. (Image: Unicef South Africa, Flickr)

Brand South Africa reporter
Got a problem with your medical scheme, hospital, doctor, dentist, nurse, pharmacist or optometrist? Here’s where to go for advice and complaints – including how to find your nearest private hospital or trauma centre, or get information on treatment costs and scale of benefits.

Medical schemes

The Council of Medical Schemes is a body established by the government to protect the interests of the public and members of medical schemes. Their website has a “complaints zone” where a complaint can be both filed and tracked online. Before submitting a complaint, you must first follow your medical scheme’s internal complaints procedure.

Hospital complaints

If you have a complaint about a government hospital, speak to the clinic or hospital manager. If you are not satisfied with the response, call the applicable provincial complaint line.

Complaints against private hospitals should be lodged with the Hospital Association of South Africa, a self-regulatory body that investigates complaints against its members. You can lodge a complaint via its website (click on “patients”), as well as find your nearest private hospital or trauma centre and get information on costs, financing of treatment and the scale of benefits.

Health practioners

The Health Professions Council of South Africa is a statutory body that sets and maintains standards for health care in the country. Every health professional must be registered with the council, which has the power to institute a disciplinary inquiry into any complaint of unprofessional conduct by any of its members.

Note that the council does not handle complaints against hospitals.

South African Medical Association
The South African Medical Association (SAMA) is a professional association for public- and private-sector medical practitioners. Membership is voluntary, with about 70% of doctors registered as members. Its website carries information on patients’ rights and responsibilities.

Alternative health practitioners
If you feel that an alternative health practitioner acted negligently or unethically, contact the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa (AHPCSA) that will investigate the complaint.

If your complaint is related to a nurse, contact the South African Nursing Council, an independent statutory body that sets and maintains nursing standards in South Africa, and investigates complaints of unprofessional conduct by nurses.

The South African Dental Association has a dental mediator, who will attend to your complaints.

The South African Optometric Association will assist with complaints against optometrists who are members of the association. Their website offers a range of other useful services and information, including a directory of optometrists.

Contact the South African Pharmacy Council. The website includes information on how to lodge a complaint, as well as forms and contact details.

Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.