The South African Medical Association (Sama) has launched an investigation into a proposal by the Department of Health to shorten the internship period of junior doctors from two years to one.
Currently, medical students are expected to complete a two-year internship as well as a compulsory community service year. The Solidarity Occupational Guild for Medical Practitioners welcomed the proposal.
According to Morné Malan, Senior Researcher at the Solidarity Research Institute, the proposal would not only help to alleviate the pressure on the institutions responsible for this training but would also address the shortage of already accredited doctors.
“Unfortunately, these internships have increasingly become obstacles for the profession rather than a means to create opportunities for the expansion of knowledge and the necessary preparation for a student’s career,” Malan said.
“We see too often that these programmes are marked by poor management, limited leadership, inhuman working environments, and enormous workloads.”
It was also brought to the attention of Solidarity Youth that intern doctors, pharmacists and other supporting staff who were recently placed, did not receive their salaries at the end of January.
According to Paul Maritz, Coordinator of Solidarity Youth, these medical interns received an e-mail on 29 January stating that they would not receive a salary for January since their jobs were only uploaded to the system on 24 January and this was too late for the payment system. Most of these students have been working since 2 January, which means there was more than enough time for the provincial authority to upload the students’ jobs on the system.
“These interns have financial responsibilities and it is unfair that they should struggle to cope because of the Department’s inefficient administration system,” said Maritz.
The Occupational Guild emphasised that although the proposal to shorten the internship period was a step in the right direction, the accreditation of private institutions to offer these internships was still the most advantageous option.
“The primary issue is not that these internships take time away from a prospective medical practitioner’s career, but rather the fact that it is wasted time,” Malan said.
“The quality and management of medical doctors’ practical training are sometimes horrific, and while students and the industry both have a significant need for training in the private sector, it is not available.”
Met die Covid-19-inperking steeds volstoom aan die gang, bring ons vir jou nóg ’n inperkingsuitgawe op jou rekenaarskerm, hierdie keer met gemak saamgestel asof dit al jare lank so gedoen word. Almal het die nuwe manier van doen se ritme nou reeds bemeester, met sommige wat intussen terug is by die werk terwyl ander nog […]
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