Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition)

Health regulation­s leave returning doctors in a bind


HUNDREDS of South African doctors who have studied medicine abroad fear their degrees could be rendered worthless because of “unfair” regulation­s by the Health Profession­s Council of SA (HPCSA).

The regulation­s

say returning doctors must complete an internship in the country in which they studied before they sit for their HPCSA board exams.

The doctors said it was impossible to complete internship­s in some countries as they didn’t allow foreign graduates to intern because of work permit issues.

They said their only option was to return to South Africa and complete an internship here, but the Department of Health apparently would not accept this, not even on a voluntary basis.

The doctors, including students who are still studying abroad, have banded together on social media to air their frustratio­ns. A meeting is scheduled with the regulatory body in Joburg tomorrow.

HPCSA spokespers­on Priscilla Sekhonyana said returning doctors had to have satisfacto­ry duty internship certificat­es verified by the Education Commission of Foreign Medical Graduates and a certificat­e of good standing from a regulatory body.

Department of Health spokespers­on Popo Maja said doctors weren’t allowed to intern without the proper procedures. Nobody was allowed to “just intern for free”.

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