Doctors stung in ‘fake’ sick note allegations

Two King William’s Town doctors have been accused of selling backdated sick certificates to workers of a well-known textile factory so they could justify bunking work.

This is after Da Gama Textile factory bosses hired a private investigator to go undercover to get sick notes from Doctors Joseph John and KN Hyder.

The healthy PI was diagnosed by the doctors to have “diabetes mellitus” and a “diabetes complication”.

Yesterday both doctors emphatically dismissed the allegations. In a telephone interview Dr Hyder said: “That is not correct. I deny the allegations. Why must Da Gama open the case and not speak to me first? I have a relationship with Da Gama. How come they do that?”

Dr John, who is better known as “JJ” also rubbished the allegations. “I don’t sell sick certificates, I grant certificates after checking if the patient is really sick. I don’t give sick notes without inspecting a patient.”

Da Gama human resources executive Leanne Schlemmer, who blew the whistle on the sick notes, said her company did not have any kind of relationship with Dr Hyder.

She said she grew suspicious after the factory was dogged by high levels of absenteeism with some of the 770 staff members producing certificates from the two doctors after they had been absent without leave.

Schlemmer said the doctors gave workers the same diagnosis of sinusitis infection or spinal problems.

“I picked up a pattern whereby the doctor gives the employees three days off with the same diagnosis and I knew something suspicious was on the cards so I hired a private investigator to go to these two doctors and try and buy sick certificates and get evidence,” said Schlemmer.

“Our company doctor will write to the Medical Council of South Africa so that these two doctors can be removed from practising medicine.”

Schlemmer said the relationship between the two doctors and her employees was putting a strain on the factory’s production output.

She said she cautioned Hyder about the allegations two years ago but never got a response.

Schlemmer said Dr John issued the sick note to the private investigator who was not sick and charged him R500. The investigator was booked off for a “diabetic complication”.

In the sick note seen by the Dispatch, Dr John booked the patient off for Thursday and Friday May 18-19 and recommended that he goes back to work “next week”.

Dr Hyder diagnosed the PI with diabetes mellitus, a chronic disease associated with abnormally high levels of sugar glucose in the blood. He charged him R280 for the diagnosis and booked him off for four days.

In the certificate in possession of the Dispatch, Dr Hyder wrote: “I recommend sick leave from May 26 2017 to May 29 2017.”

Schlemmer reported the matter to the King William’s Town Police Station yesterday. Police spokesman Captain Siphokazi Mawisa said a case of fraud had been opened but no arrests had been made. —

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