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Mediclinic News : Overworked doctors get more backing

Title

Overworked doctors get more backing

Date

2016-06-28

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News Description

INDEPENDENT ONLINE Doctors advocating to have their 30-hour work shift policy reviewed have vowed to continue pressurising Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s department. The Junior Doctors Association of SA (Judasa) has joined hands with the SA Medical Association (Sama) and Safe Working Hours (SWH) to take up the plight for overworked doctors. “If there ever was a time to join forces and push for change, it is now. It is only through pressure from within and outside the medical profession simultaneously that this archaic practice can be stopped,” said SWH spokesperson Helene-Mari van der Westhuizen. The recent death of medical intern Ilne Markwat, who was killed when she crashed her car on her way home from Paarl Hospital on June 3, has put the issue firmly in the spotlight. Sama, Judasa and SWH have blamed the Department of Health and the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) for Markwat’s death. “This unnecessary death adds a new urgency to the Safe Working Hours campaign and what it aims to achieve,” Van der Westhuizen said. Judasa has called for a cap of 24 hours and for the department to review its overtime policy. SWH is seeking to have a cap of 12 hours and compiled a document questioning the 30-hour shift policy. “While we welcome the department’s decision to set up a task team to look at solutions, we still want to see real changes to make working hours safe for doctors and patients,” Van der Westhuizen said. SWH has a petition signed by more than 5 500 people and encouraged overworked doctors to share their stories on its Facebook page. Sama chairperson Mzukisi Grootboom said: “The Health Department and HPCSA’s guidelines related to doctors’ work hours are abhorrent. A 30-hour shift is way too high, but we supervisors will always try to stretch the hours younger medical staff work.” Grootboom said the focus should also be on senior doctors who bully medical interns. “Even if that policy is reviewed, what stops senior doctors from continuing to exploit the interns? The young medical staff fear not being signed off to qualify, and the seniors take advantage of that,” Grootboom said.
Created at 2016/07/06 10:53 AM by Mediclinic
Last modified at 2016/07/06 10:53 AM by Mediclinic