Too little money for junior doctors, but the state wants to operate NGV

Henry

The government’s “false statements” about the state of the health sector as far as the doctors it employs are flashing red flags when it comes to the National Health Insurance (NHI).

According to Solidarity, Dr. Nicholas Crisp, deputy director-general of the Department of Health, said there is no shortage of doctors in the country and that the department, on the contrary, “is currently struggling to employ all the doctors who qualify”.

Theuns du Buisson, economic researcher at the Solidarity Research Institute, says the real reason for the failure to place doctors is rather a lack of money to pay all these doctors.

RNews previously reported that not all medical interns who completed the department’s internship and community service program (ICS) were placed for their mandatory community service year. This is because there are problems with funding for these medical staff.

“It is clear that the Department of Health is experiencing serious financial and management challenges, leading to an inability to place graduate healthcare workers,” says Du Buisson.

“This is the core problem that Dr. Crisp chooses to ignore.”

However, Du Buisson says the problem extends beyond the issue of unemployment and frustration among young doctors. The failure to place doctors due to financial challenges “of course also has an impact on access to health care for millions of South Africans, especially in communities where doctors in their community service years are the only available doctors”, he says.

Although Crisp argues that there is by no means a shortage of doctors, Du Buisson says this is simply untrue. South Africa does have a serious shortage of doctors.

“In Canada, there are 2.77 doctors per 1,000 patients and there it is labeled as hopelessly too few. In South Africa, the ratio is 0.8 doctors per 1,000 patients,” he says.

“Moreover, many doctors have already said that they will emigrate under the NGV system.

“This problem with the placement of young doctors will not be solved by the NHS either. However, this could be improved by allowing doctors to complete their community service years in the private sector and by allowing the private sector to train doctors.”

Solidarity has meanwhile appealed to the government to urgently establish structures to get doctors placed.

“Solidarity also hopes that this state of affairs, which repeats itself annually, will be a wake-up call for the government to waive the NGV.”