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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

Phaahla announces govt’s solution to hire unemployed doctors by 1 April

The government has found the money to fund the posts, says Minister.

Health Minister Joe Phaahla has announced that his department and National Treasury have found the solution to the crisis of unemployed doctors.

Phaahla made the announcement during his State of the Nation Address debate.

As unemployed doctors take to the streets in various parts of the country demanding jobs, Phaahla had previously cited budgetary constraints and an excess of medical graduates in the field as the culprits for the crisis.

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“Provinces face challenges due to budgetary constraints, with increasing pressure on healthcare budgets. The rising cost of employment, including salaries, poses a significant challenge, making it difficult for provinces to allocate funds for new positions,” he said.

The minister noted that the sector’s “complex” salary structures added to the difficulties, as they included overtime benefits, contributing to a high salary bill.

Responding to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Sona, Phaahla said the department was doing everything to retain doctors, nurses and physiotherapists within the public health system.

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“I am pleased to announce today that we’re working with my colleague Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana. We have found a solution to the current difficulty of employing doctors who want to work in the public service,” said Phaahla.

“We are going to fund these posts, working with the minister. The details of how this is going to be funded will be stated by the minister next Wednesday when he delivers the budget speech.

“Our national teams are already working together between Treasury and Health to thrash out the details and with provincial departments to speed up the process so that by 1 April this year, all those who wish to work in the public sector will be able to get jobs.

ALSO READ: Health department tells jobless doctors to look elsewhere

“I’m confident that the provinces will have already started with the recruitment processes.”

Phaahla further mocked political parties that were planning to use the crisis as a campaign strategy against the ANC, saying they should find something else to work with.

“Hard luck to those who were planning to use this issue as a political football in their elections campaign. I’m sorry for that, we’ve taken it off the table.”

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