RECENTLY WE did a report on the placements of intern doctors and it seems there is a light at the end of the tunnel, albeit at slow pace.
The Government’s national health department is now engaging stranded intern doctors but through lawyers’ who represent them.
“Out of 465 doctors, the audited number that was not placed is 49. Probably not even a single doctor was placed until they approached the office and we wrote to the department.
“We are amending our papers and won’t continue on an urgent basis. We only seek them to be placed,” said Matthew Yeko of Mabuza Attorneys, representing intern doctors.
This follows efforts to engage the department of health many times before the expected closing date on July 1.
Because of the legal route now taken, Government is listening of which it could have been avoided from the word go.
The remaining doctors will file the class action by Mabuza Attorneys, on their behalf once they have finalised their case and according to Yeko, most of the students who are not placed are foreign nationals.
Yeko said the case needed work as some doctors who had been given paid internships have since been turned away, and others told they can only start in four months’ time.
“The number we are dealing with is changing all the time. We do not yet have the final list of names. Even those who have received funded postings are experiencing problems. Some have gone to start their new jobs only to be told there is no letter of appointment for them,” he said.
This is not the first time junior doctors have had to wait to be employed after qualifying. In 2016 and 2017 it was reported that more than 200 newly qualified doctors would be left with worthless degrees if provinces can’t raise funds for internship positions.
The South African Medical Association (SAMA) has also threatened to take the government to court on this issue.
It’s a legal obligation to place every qualified doctor into a two-year internship service programme regulated and administered by the health department — something that every doctor must go through in order to practise in SA.
With the pandemic numbers increasing exponentially doctors are needed in all hospitals, especially in remote areas and these interns would come in handy.
Image (Acting national health minister Mamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane now listening to disgruntled junior doctors demands through lawyers).