Legislation for everyday occupational therapy practice

Dain van der Reyden


Occupational therapists practice in a progressively structured legal framework in which much of what was previously ethical obligation has become entrenched in legislation – hence the need for accessible information about such legislation. This paper reviews legislation relevant for day to day practice, from an occupational therapy perspective, regardless of client group, facility or practice area. It provides information about the relevant Acts in user friendly terms and outlines implications for practice.

The Constitution of South Africa Act 108 of 1996, the Health Professions Act 56 of 1974 (as amended) and the National Health Act 61 of 2003 is reviewed in detail, the relevant provisions are highlighted and the Promotion of Access to Information Act 20 of 2000 is mentioned, as well as the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000.

This paper thus attempts to provide a context within which the occupational therapist can practise legally and professionally. As ethical principles are now firmly embedded within legislation this impacts on professional ethical training and practice, this paper aims at assisting the occupational therapist to gain sufficient understanding of the law to enable effective and ethically appropriate patient/client management.

Key words: South African legislation, health professional, ethics, occupational therapy practice.

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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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