The South African Medical Association Trade Union (SAMATU) has written to Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla, complaining about his department's continued discrimination against Cuban-trained doctors, saying they are “placed at the tail end of the placement list and treated like outcasts in their own country”.
Non-placement of the doctors, especially for community service, would mean that from 1 January 2022, these doctors are “practically unemployed, and this happens while we observe an increase in COVID-19 infections”, wrote SAMATU.
News24 reports that the union's complaint comes after it found out last week that the Health Department has no funding for 644 community service and 384 interns at government health facilities for 2022. This will affect 600 Cuban-trained South African doctors, compared with 64 South African-trained junior doctors.
The department needs R824m to place all 1,028 junior doctors and it has approached National Treasury for a once-off bailout.
SAMATU described the ongoing doctor placement crisis as self-made. "This same incompetent practice that continues to defy logic was displayed in July 2021 when the department again failed to meet its own deadlines until it was threatened [with] legal action.”
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