Research competency and specialist registration: Quo vadis?
The requirement of ‘research completion’ as necessary for specialist registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has recently been subject to legal action, with a court order potentially shifting requirements beyond those envisaged by the HPCSA. The research requirement is congruent with National Department of Health strategy in this regard, i.e. the strengthening of research as a stated priority. While the expectation of research competency is not in itself contentious, the capacity of institutions and the ability of registrars to facilitate and complete, respectively, have brought the issue into focus. Specifically, the apparent discrepancy between a court order and a regulation needs to be resolved to ensure that specialist registration is not unduly hampered, while ensuring that a potentially important contributor to a national priority is not prejudiced.