Given the inestimable value of human life, many countries have bodies regulating the activities of their health care professionals. In South Africa, the organization that is tasked with this all-important duty is the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). A statutory body founded in 1974, HPCSA promotes the health care sector in the country by setting the standards of education, training, and registration for relevant health care professionals. The body also ensures ongoing professional competence through continuing education efforts.
Another important mandate of the HPCSA is to ensure that practitioners uphold and maintain the professional and ethical standards of the healthcare profession. They take charge of the investigation of complaints concerning practitioners and in a situation where a practitioner fails to live up to ethical standards, the task now falls on the organization to impose an appropriate level of punishment on the defaulter. The HPCSA is therefore a body that no health care professional in South Africa can afford to mess with. One has to register with them and strictly comply with their regulations in order to ensure that they do not lose their professional license.
Step by Step Guide to HPCSA Registration and How to Get Your Certificate
- First, carefully compile all the documents that are required for the registration according to the category and field.
- Download the necessary application forms from the HPCSA portal and fill them.
- Pay the applicable registration fees and pro-rata fees and enclose the evidence of payment.
- Package the application and send it off by post to The Registrar, HPCSA, P O Box 205, PRETORIA, 0001.
- In the alternative, you can also drop it off at the HPCSA office, 553 Madiba Street, Arcadia, Pretoria.
- If you have access to a fax machine, you can also fax your application to the HPCSA via their fax number – 012 328 5120.
- The council will now process your application and furnish you with a registration certificate that comes with a registration number.
- You can also access the registration certificate online.
- Once you have registered with the HPCSA, an account will be automatically opened for you on the HPCSA portal.
- To access your certificate, go to the HPCSA website and click on Online Renewals.
- Click on the login or sign up button.
- For username – type your ID or passport number then click on the forgot password button.
- Type your ID number or Passport and click on the Reset my password button.
- After that, an email or SMS for password reset will be sent to your registered email address or cellphone number with a link. Please click on the link and change the password.
- Create your password and type it again to verify the password. Then click submit button.
- Go back to the HPCSA portal and log in with your password.
- Once logged on, click on your name and select Account Overview.
- Select Download certificates.
- Click on the Registration Certificate link.
- A PDF certificate will be downloaded when clicked.
How to Renew Your Annual HPCSA Membership
As a healthcare professional, the fact that you have done your initial registration with the HPCSA and obtained your registration certificate is not enough. You are required to renew your membership of the HPCSA each year in order to have the license to continue to practice. This annual renewal of membership is done via the HPCSA portal as outlined below.
- Open the HPCSA website and click on Online Renewals
- Log in with your username and password
- Click on your name and select Account Overview
- Select Account Statement
- Click on My Invoices which will call up a new screen listing amount due
- To pay, click on Pay Now. a new screen will come up indicating the payment details
- Input details of your debit or credit card as the case may be, accept the terms and conditions, and click next.
- The amount will be appropriately deducted and it will reflect on your status that you have paid your fees for the year.
- To check the status of the HPCSA registration you just did, log into the portal once more and click on my registrations.
- Select the registration status that is active and click “click here to proceed”
- Click on the Card option at the bottom of the page
- Your current practicing card will be displayed. You can then download it by selecting “Print Card” and select the PDF option to save a copy for your records.
Note – Practitioners residing outside of South Africa who encounter problems with electronic online payments can make their payments to the HPCSA’s account details as follows. Account holder – Health Professions Council of South Africa, Bank – ABSA, Branch code – 334945, Account no – 405 003 3481, Swift code – ABSAZAJJ, Payment Reference – HPCSA registration no. The practitioner will be able to log in and view/print their current practicing card, within 48 hours after proof of payment has been submitted and received at HPCSA.
How Much Is HPCSA Annual and Registration Fees?
As is obvious from the registration procedures outlined above, healthcare professionals are required to pay a registration fee to the HPCSA during their initial registration. They also need to pay annual renewal fees each year when applying to renew their licenses. These fees are used to run the 12 professional boards that make up the HPCSA as the organization does not receive any subvention or financial help from the government. It is the responsibility of the HPCSA to fix the registration and annual fees payable by healthcare professionals and they release a government gazette to that effect for each year. You will therefore need to search online in order to access it.
Meanwhile, a perusal of the HPCSA registration fee and the annual fee for the year 2021 will show that HPCSA registration and renewal fees typically start at a few hundred rands and can go as high as thousands of rands, depending on the category you are paying for. This is a bit steep but it is extremely important that one pays them to avoid unsavory consequences. For instance, if you do not pay the HPCSA registration fee, you will not get your registration certificate which effectively means you cannot practice your profession in South Africa. It is also a crime for you to use your professional title when you are not registered with the HPCSA.
It is also similarly important that you pay your annual renewal fees as failure to do so may result in your name being erased from the register. Annual fees are required to be paid on or before the 1st of April of each year. If you fail to pay three months after that date, then you stand the risk of your name being struck off the register which means that you are no longer licensed to practice in South Africa.
Exemptions From Payment of Annual Fees
Some categories of healthcare professionals are exempted from paying HPCSA annual fees. If perhaps you cannot practice your profession as a result of ill health, you can apply for exemption from payment for that particular year. A medical report, issued by a registered practitioner, must accompany such an application, which should reach the council’s offices before the 1st day of April of the year concerned. One can also be granted exemption from paying the annual fees in the year in which they turn 71.
You must however have turned 71 before the 1st day of April of the year in question. If you turned 71 after the 1st day of April, then you will still pay for that year and your exemption will start from the next year. This provision applies to all categories of healthcare professionals except practitioners registered in Professional Boards for Environmental Health Practitioners, Medical Technologist, Radiography & Clinical Technology, Dietetics, and Nutritionists, who get that exemption once they turn 66 years of age.