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THE CITIZEN The SA Medical Association (Sama) has cautioned against the loss of skilled and qualified doctors to other countries due to the national department of health’s inability to provide them with jobs. Sama board member Dr Rhulani Edward Ngwenya said the loss of these critical skills would prevent the national department of health from reaching its ambitious sustainable development goals by 2030, which include recruiting, training and retaining healthcare professionals to curb epidemics such as Aids, tuberculosis and malaria. “We have an overwhelming shortage of qualified doctors and nurses, yet we are losing them to foreign countries because they can’t get jobs in public hospitals,” he said. “If they are trying to reach the sustainable development goals then they should be [creating] more posts because we simply don’t have enough doctors…” Ngwenya said employing doctors and nurses was not the only solution because currently many public hospitals did not have the facilities or equipment to provide quality healthcare to patients. “It doesn’t help to have a doctor who cannot work because of lack of equipment. Furthermore, a surgeon cannot work without anaesthetic,” he added. “If we are going to meet the sustainable development goals, we need institutions that can take care of patients efficiently,” he said. In Limpopo last month, for example, the department of health had 586 graduates who had completed community service in fields including medicine, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy and physiotherapy. According to the member of the executive council for health in the province, Dr Phophi Ramathuba, the department could only provide jobs for 142 of them. “We are left with 444 unemployed healthcare professionals. Almost 400 are bursary holders, which deepens the contradiction because we have sent these professionals to school to gain skills based on our needs and are unable to appoint them,” she said during a media briefing last week. A Limpopo doctor told The Citizen the staff shortages were not limited to medical professionals. “There are shortages of porters, kitchen staff, drivers and cleaners,” he said. He added that last month the minister of health announced 5,300 posts would be created in South Africa, but the Limpopo treasury refused to approve the majority of those posts. A report compiled by the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) in May last year, entitled State of Provincial Healthcare System Spotlight on Limpopo, suggested there are critical shortages of human resources, but instead of filling vacant positions, posts were being frozen. Human resource shortages cause long waiting times, patients being turned away, longer hospital stays, higher risk of deaths and increased pressure on staff. This overburdening of staff was a major contributor to the worsening of attitudes. The national department of health had failed to comment by time of going to press.
Created at 2019/01/23 11:28 AM by Mediclinic
Last modified at 2019/01/23 11:28 AM by Mediclinic