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HomeNews UpdateMore doctors employed in 2023 than last year – Phaahla

More doctors employed in 2023 than last year – Phaahla

Questioned about the shortage of doctors and placements for graduates, among other issues, Health Minister Joe Phaahla told Parliament last week that almost 4 000 posts had been filled this year, compared with last year.

A total of 3 974 posts for medical doctors had been advertised and filled in 2023, compared with 2 053 posts in 2022, he said.

In January, members of the South African Medical Association Trade Union (Samatu) and more than 1 000 unemployed doctors from Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal marched in protest over unemployment among doctors.

In a recent parliamentary question, Phaahla was asked what measures had been put in place to ensure “all medical graduates who have completed their community services are placed at health facilities”.

Phaahla replied that the Health Department was obliged to ensure sufficient platforms were available for all eligible citizens and permanent residents for medical internship and community service.

“After qualifying for independent practice, doctors are allowed to seek employment either in the public or private sector,” he said.

On the issue of 80 unplaced doctors in Limpopo and the general shortages of doctors in rural areas, he said shortages, especially in rural regions, were due to budget constraints and that health professionals did not want to work in remote areas.

A senior managerial employee at Ekhombe District Hospital in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal, told the Mail & Guardian young doctors did not stay long at rural hospitals.

“The lack of working resources drives them away … it is difficult to help people when you do not have the necessary tools,” he said.

Phaahla said 81 medical doctors had been placed in community service at the Limpopo Department of Health on 15 June.

“Their start of duty was delayed because the provincial Treasury has asked them to first confirm whether they would take the jobs, before granting approval for the creation of the posts,” he said.

And on how the department was tackling the difficulties experienced by doctors in being allowed to write their board examinations to be integrated into the medical field, he said the department had collaborated with the Health Professions Council of South Africa to invite applicants who meet the requirements for these exams.


M&G article – More doctors employed this year than 2022 – Phaahla (Restricted access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Unemployed doctors labelled ‘too fussy’ about job placements


Junior doctors in Limpopo still waiting for placement


Substantial number of community service doctors still unemployed — SAMA


Young doctors face uncertainty over placement in state hospitals






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