Recent media statements have claimed that 307 medical interns are in limbo due provincial budget cuts.
The National Department of Health, as the custodian of the newly implemented ICSP Online system, has been working with provinces since July 2016 to quantify and address the shortfall of posts. Additional posts have been added throughout the application period as provinces have responded to this call. However, under the current fiscal conditions the process to fund more posts has taken some time. Notwithstanding this, the Department is confident that provinces will by the end of November 2016 have availed sufficient funded posts to complete the 2017 placements as planned.
All applications for medical interns have been managed for the first time through the new ICSP Online system. Like any new online system there were teething challenges both in the new application process and ICSP online system itself, however the Department was able to manage these challenges with the support of various stakeholders, including those who represent medical interns.
Since the implementation of the new application guidelines and system the Department has actively communicated with affected applicants and associations through webinars, SMS and emails to ensure they are kept updated on all the significant developments, changes to time-frames and proposed solutions. These engagements included taking representations from associations on improving the guidelines around personal considerations and managing objections.
The National Department of Health appreciates the concerns raised and the urgency of the matter and can assure applicants that every effort is being made to finalise the 2017 placements as soon as possible.