GAUTENG IS the hardest hit with doctors not receiving their salaries on time.
To compound matters the most affected were newly appointed doctors and interns, as a result of uncertainty and financial strife in January 2019.
The South African Medical Association (Sama), indicated that 826 incoming doctors were affected when the department failed to pay their January salaries on time.
Other medical professionals, including pharmacists, who are doing their community service, were also affected.
A male intern doctor from East Rand (name witheld) said most of his colleagues struggled to pay for necessities such as rent and some did not pay school fees.
“Having had put in 330 hours in January, now this. Its unacceptable.
A furious (25) female intern said, as interns we feel abused. People had to borrow money and debit orders were being rejected. Imagine being in debt on your first month at work,” she complained.
But the department of Health in Gauteng has promised payments will be processed.
Spokesperson for the department Khutso Rabothatha, said there was a delay in processing payments for people in their system. He said the financial process was complex as it also involved other departments, including treasury.
Rabothatha said they were confident people would receive their salaries as promised. He said most doctors would be paid today while others would be paid on Monday. “The main focus is for us to ensure that salaries are paid and that this never happens again.”
Rabothatha said most people continued reporting for work despite not getting their salaries while a few were on special leave.
Other provinces such as Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, also experienced the same situation.
According to SAMA board member Dr Rhulani Ngwenya, they’re hopeful that the provincial department will pay doctors by today as promised following meetings.
Ngwenya said only 552 people out of 1,378 doctors in the province were paid by January 31 while the rest were expected to receive their January salaries today.
“Doctors on the ground have been suffering. We are waiting to see whether the department would keep its promise,” Ngwenya said.
He said in one instance, 17 doctors from the same hospital were forced to share R117 among themselves for food.
This is an essential service but it’s not treated as such.
Meanwhile, some doctors have called for a renewed look at problems facing their colleagues who have a high rate of suicide due to the stress of their jobs.