Saturday, December 2

Health Department Puts placements for Medical Trainees Three days Before Start Date

The department of Health says it has finalized the placement of more than 1100 medical interns and junior doctors for the medical internship and community service programme.1 Some junior doctors are still waiting to be placed in the community service programme.2 The health department went on to say that the 2023 mid-year internships and community service allocation process have been concluded and that all final-year medical students, who will become doctors, will become eligible after 1 July, can only be allocated to hsopitals in the cycle which starts in January 2024.3 1st of July was yesterday, Saturday. So their time as medical students started then. An email, shown to News 24, informed the doctors they would receive word of their allocations on or by 13 June.4 But they still had not received any communication from the department well after this date.5   

But they had not received any communication after this date.6

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The Gauteng health department did not respond to questions from News24 about the delay. On Thursday, the national department said it had completed the allocation process which would enable 1 134 eligible medical interns and junior doctors to start working on 1 July. Its spokesperson, Foster Mohale, said applicants had already been informed to report for duty on 1 July, and only those who applied on the department’s application portal was considered.  “According to ICSP placement guidelines, stricter rules have been applied in line with Public Service Regulations 2016, Public Service Act, 1994 as amended and the Immigration Act of 2002. “Priority is given to eligible South African citizens followed by permanent residents, and if resources are still available foreign nationals may be considered.” Mohale said the results had been sent to provincial departments of health, the SA Military Health Services and Department of Correctional Services.  “In addition, 36 medical community service doctors will be eligible from 1 August, and their allocation will be finalised in the first week of July with the provincial departments of health. “All final-year medical students who will become eligible after 1 July can only be allocated in the annual cycle of January 2024.”  (Health dept announces placements for medical interns, junior doctors 3 days before start date)

The Health Department needs to be able to interact with the public news media concerning its policies; given it is their concern to be involved with public health. Note the term “public health”. They should also be able to get their priorities straight. It is all well and good for the department of Health on the national level to have an allocation process and a registration process but they should also be able to contact their medical applicants through their contact details address, phone number, e-mail etc. It is also appropriate to have strict protocols in place to ensure that the medical applicants who have applied remain prepared at all times to be called up when necessary.

However the department needs to maintain transparency and accountability at all times. The question as to the delay by the health department to calling in the residents should be answered by the Department of Health Spokesman. No stone should be left unturned in ensuring an efficient medical system. Politics aside Inflation, scarcity of resources and the high cost of living combine to create a nightmare for the department of Health. This especially comes after the Covid-19 Pandemic and being on the frontline of that international phenomenon. That said, the eligibility of the medical students has already being vetted and it is time they were given an opportunity. This is important especially for the medical students’ themselves and their families.                      

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