Today's Labour News

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GEMSTimesLive reports that the Government Employee Medical Scheme (GEMS) and a private public relations firm, Martina Nicholson Associations (MNA), have been accused of using lay people to give incorrect medical advice to patients who think it is a doctor offering free online help.  

Members of GEMS are led to believe a medical doctor is answering their health-related questions posed online.  In what experts describe as unethical and potentially illegal, the advice column “House Call with Dr Joe” was launched in April 2014.  The advice column is managed by MNA, which handles the public relations for GEMS, Netcare and Universal healthcare.  Martina Nicholson of MNA has denied any wrongdoing and insists all questions were answered by a medical doctor.  But two former staffers have revealed that they and Nicholson herself answered questions on cancer, fertility, depression, infections, medication use and treating children's concentration issues, all by using "Dr Google".  Doctors approached to comment pointed out mistakes in several answers.  A Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) spokesperson said if true, the actions by Nicholson amounted to a “criminal offence.”

  • Read this report by Katharine Child in full at TimesLive

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