The latest Critical Skills List released by the Department of Home Affairs last week is notable for the removal of many health care professionals, writes Dr Fareed Mahommed in a letter to MedicalBrief.
Dr Mahommed writes:
This removal was based on a flawed survey conducted by the Department of Education. I say flawed because the Department of Education concluded that there are many unemployed doctors in the country, hence South Africa no longer requires foreign workforce in those respective fields of specialist doctors.
What the Department of Education didn't understand from their survey/research was that the said unemployed doctors are interns/community service doctors waiting for placement, which does not translate to unemployed excess specialist doctors in the country.
COVID-19 exposed the critical severe shortage of health care workers in the state hospitals. It's appalling that the current Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, actually believed that flawed survey and gazetted it despite him being the Minister of Health just two years ago.
South Africa is still far away from having "enough" specialist doctors, pharmacists and other health care workers. The services in the state hospitals are still below average because of critical severe shortage of manpower and in my opinion we still need the foreign workforce in the Department of Health otherwise the NHI will be a joke.
DHA Critical Skills List Report