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Unions deny that young doctors are refusing rural jobs

The national Health Department, which last week said young doctors choose to reject rural placements, has been accused of propaganda by the Health and Allied Workers Indaba Trade Union (HAITU).

The department posted on X that although there were vacant posts, some doctors chose not to work in rural facilities, and “prefer to sit out for a year rather than venture into unfamiliar territory…”

#UnemployedDoctors2024 has been trending on social media since the beginning of January when the South African Medical Association Trade Union (Samatu) reported that more than 800 qualified doctors remained unemployed after completing the mandatory two years of medical internship and one year of community service.

“Annually, the Department (of Health) cites budget constraints as a barrier to hiring qualified doctors, yet no substantial measures are evident to solve the funding dilemma,” it posted.

News24 reports that last week, Samatu said it was pursuing alternative strategies to exert pressure on the department, while HAITU said it rejected the “propaganda” from the department.

“It is clear … this is an attempt to cast negative aspersions on newly-trained doctors and portray them as pampered or spoilt …when there is much more to the story.”

Additionally, said the union, doctors had complained about “shocking accommodation” in the residences, which in some cases, was “completely uninhabitable for humans… it does not have a roof or has broken windows, and  sometimes, does not even have showers.”

"Healthcare workers deserve to work in a safe and dignified environment.”


News24 article – Union rubbishes claims that young docs refuse rural jobs (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Tight budgets hamper state employment of new doctors


Cum laude medical graduate sitting at home, unemployed


Young doctors face placement challenges – DA


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