Providing claimants with access to information: A comparative analysis of the POPIA, PAIA and HPCSA guidelines

M van Niekerk


South African healthcare practitioners who compile reports on claimants on behalf of others, for example insurers, often face a dilemma when claimants request access to their reports. A search of the literature revealed limited guidance for such healthcare practitioners that accurately reflects practice issues, and takes cognisance of the Promotion to Access to Information and Protection of Personal Information Acts (PAIA and POPIA). Since private practices are exempt from producing PAIA manuals, practitioners are not expected to be familiar with access to information processes beyond the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) guidelines. Based on a comparative analysis of the POPIA, PAIA and HPCSA guidelines, this article makes recommendations to practitioners and the HPCSA. Practitioners who have once-off engagements with claimants (without a prior therapeutic relationship) to establish claimants’ eligibility for contractual benefits should refer claimants’ access requests to the instructing party. As a statutory regulator, the HPCSA should align its guidelines with other legislation and incorporate the provisions of POPIA and PAIA to better guide and protect practitioners.

Author's affiliations

M van Niekerk, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Therapeutic Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Cite this article

South African Journal of Bioethics and Law 2019;12(1):32-37. DOI:10.7196/SAJBL.2019.v12i1.656

Article History

Date submitted: 2019-07-03
Date published: 2019-07-03

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