Health minister letting doctors down
DEAR Minister Motsoaledi, this past week, doctors around the country, in sheer hope and desperation, turned to you for intervention on the perceived human resource crisis affecting your department.
However, instead, we were scolded as if naughty children had overstepped the boundaries set by their parents.
In your attempt to plaster the cracks in your own department, you have let doctors – the backbone of the national public health service – down.
In the placement of interns and Community Service doctors, you fail to share the irregularities that plagued the placement system during the first round.
You do not share the fact that applicants with special considerations who were rejected by provinces were removed from the placement pool and only replaced in the second round.
You do not tell people that provinces were allowed to apply the special consideration policy with no interprovincial uniformity at all. How is this a fair process? Your department has adopted a Gestapo-like attitude in its approach to all sectors of health professionals, not attempting to regulate private matters related to marriage and newly established families.
You have shown that no regard will be given to the destruction of families and the mental well-being of health professionals.
Even though the employment of medical officers may not be a statutory requirement for your department, it must still prioritise service delivery to the millions of South Africans whose lives rely on a dilapidated public health sector.
Instead of blaming doctors for not wanting to work in rural communities, rather ask yourself how your department can improve rural medicine for the benefit of patient and health professional.
It is wrong to pretend these facilities are ready to support the NHI as you have envisioned it.
Your department has e-mailed applicants to say that there are no vacancies available. We have contacted senior members in your department and submitted the names of unemployed medical officers who want to work in the public health sector but cannot find these vacancies you have promised.
Minister, we remain committed to serving South Africans and respecting the Hippocratic Oath. However, for health and patients to prosper, we must realise that we are a team after the same goal.
Kindest regards, Junior Doctors Association of South Africa Western Cape Chairperson
HOSPITAL ROUND: Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi and Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane inspect the newly completed maternity ward at the awaited R730m ZolaJabulani district hospital in Soweto at its opening.