Essential that all Community Services are placed – SAMA

All Community Service doctors in South Africa must find placement and the fact that more than 175 have not for 2021 is unacceptable. This is the view of the South African Medical Association (SAMA) which was commenting on numbers provided by the Department of Health in mid-November that 1528 Community Service doctors have been placed for next year out of a total of 1705 eligible doctors.

The medical association says the dire shortage of trained professionals in public hospitals necessitates a steady and strong stream of doctors to be available. And, when those doctors are ready for their community service years, the National and Provincial Departments of Health must do everything to ensure they are placed.

SAMA says the compulsory community service for doctors is aimed at redistributing health professionals across the country, which is an objective it supports. However, without 100% placement it is impossible to contend that shortages exist while the reality is that they do.

SAMA remains concerned about the existing shortfalls in placements, and the ongoing problems at state hospitals which continue to have limited human resources. It says an urgent and lasting solution must be found to ensure problems with placements don’t recur on an annual basis.

SAMA says it will approach all nine provincial Health MECs to discuss the issue of resourcing at hospitals in their provinces, as well as the problems with placements with a view to ensuring placements for all community service doctors in 2021.