SANDF tackles mass exodus of doctors

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The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) said it was tackling the problems that caused military doctors to leave in droves, reports The Times. Briefing Parliament’s portfolio committee on defence and military veterans, SANDF surgeon-general Aubrey Sedibe said the army had lost 47 doctors in “a short space of time”.

A ministerial task team was established in 2013 to record the complaints of medical personnel in the SANDF, and has made recommendations. And, the report quotes Sedibe as saying the fact that the doctors had not left the military for the better-paid private sector, but had chosen to work for the Department of Health had been “a wake-up call for us”.

The task team found that the doctors felt they were underpaid, under-resourced and overworked.

One of the recommendations, made in October 2014, was a human resources audit of staff, to see whether they were being paid in line with occupation-specific dispensations. The audit of 1,984 staff including doctors, nurses, dentists and pharmacists is 88% complete. Sedibe said he hoped it would be completed by June. So far staff have received R63m in back pay, Sedibe said.

The report said Sedibe added that military doctors and doctors working in private practice or in civil service were “two different types of human beings”. While most doctors would work a specified number of hours and overtime, military doctors were expected to work “24 hours and can be called up for deployment at any time”.

Sedibe assured the committee that the SANDF had lured back many of the doctors lost, the report said.

Full report in The Times

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