IF patients want to know if a private doctor is charging them fairly, they would not be able to check medical price guidelines.
There has been no national guideline tariff list to recommend what private doctors should charge since 2010, when the High Court in Pretoria threw out the 2007 to 2009 National Reference Price Lists.
The court ruled that the previous guidelines did not reflect doctors' costs and the process of settling on the prices was flawed.
Three years later, the lack of guidelines is making it difficult for the Health Professions Council of South Africa to adjudicate hearings where patients claim they have been overcharged by a doctor.
New gazetted tariffs were opened up to public comment until last week. They were based on 2006 guidelines, inflation adjusted.
SA Medical Association president Mkuzi Grootboom was unhappy with the proposed plan. "The tariff [guidelines] as far as we are concerned are a thumb-suck and historically based. We think we need to look at a scientifically guided process."