South African Medical Association (Sama) spokesperson Dr Mzulungile Nodikida says government’s failure to plan for junior doctors’ statutory placement was not new, and they would urgently approach the court to force it to place all internship and community service doctors by 16 December.
“Since last year, we were in the same boat but they resolved it.
“We think government is not planning very well.
“They know they have final year medicine students who need two years of internship and one year of community service before they can be registered as independent medical practitioners,” he said.
Gauteng department of health spokesperson Foster Mohale said the department would communicate with all affected doctors in due course, followed by a public announcement.
“The national department of health and the nine provincial departments of health have been working closely with National Treasury to place medical graduates in posts for their academic internship programme; and to place those completing their programmes in community service posts,” he said.
Sama released a media statement earlier this week expressing outrage that medical doctors had not yet been placed.
“Internship and community service are state-imposed requirements, as well as being part of medical training.
“South Africa has a dire shortage of medical professionals. According to World Bank data we sit 130th in the world with 0.9 doctors per 1 000 population. This may even be worse now due to recent emigration,” the statement said.
“Ministers of both health and fiance should have incorporated these placements into the budget adjustments that were tabled in parliament last month.
“It’s completely unacceptable that this late in the year government is claiming that there is not funding for interns and community service doctors.
“Sama is insisting that government find the money for these placements, or risk facing the full might of the law,” the statement said.
The Health Professions Council of South Africa did not have any comment on the matter.