The disregard for Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang's right to privacy is cause for deep concern, the Registrar of the Health Professions Council of South Africa said on Tuesday.
Registrar Boyce Mkhize voiced his concern about the "indiscriminate insensitivity and wanton disregard" of the minister's rights after she was admitted to Johannesburg General Hospital last Tuesday for treatment.
The minister's health had been under the spotlight since she returned to work a few weeks ago after suffering a long illness.
Tshabalala-Msimang was admitted to the same hospital last year for several weeks, suffering from a lung infection.
"Every citizen of this country ought to enjoy full protection of the law and constitutional rights enshrined in our Bill of Rights," Mkhize said in a statement.
"Every patient has a right to privacy and not to have their illness or ailment disclosed without their consent."
Mkhize said the doctor-patient relationship rests on this pillar of trust, which was about preserving confidentiality of patient data.
"No member of the public is entitled to know what the minister, or even the president suffers from, let alone the causes of such ailment as some excited journalists have attempted to establish."
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