- Medical students in their final year have cried out on social media under #UnemployedDoctors
- 300 final-year students have not been placed in internships next year
- According to the minister of health, there are three major provinces at fault
- One province, the Western Cape, claims it is due to a lack of funds
The uncertainty of their futures led to medical students complaining on social media under the hashtag #UnemployedDoctors.
Only a handful of students are accepted to study medicine at higher education institutions. One needs an exemplary high school record, and dedication to studying that other pupils do not have.
Taking all that in consideration, along with the fact that many South African hospitals and clinics are understaffed, we might think that a graduating medical student will have no problem getting an internship.
Briefly.co.za gathered that nearly 300 final-year students have not received internships for next year.
Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health, is in the frustrated students’ corner. He claimed that three major provinces, who have failed to fund internships, are too blame.
Ryan Jacobs, who studied towards becoming a neurosurgeon, is one of the students who faces uncertainty regarding his future employment.
After having surgery that stopped his epileptic seizures, Jacobs had a vocation to become a doctor.
Jacobs said his degree was a seven-year degree at Stellenbosch.
According to Jacobs, there had been times of doubt, he continued by saying that a lot of blood, sweat and tears, lots of late nights, lots and lots of tears had gone into his studies.
The Junior Doctors Association (Judasa) confirmed that the shortage of internships is a crisis. Judasa secretary-general Michael van Niekerk said that they have more than 600 final-year medical students and second-year second-year interns who are not placed for next year.
He continued by stating that it means the community in South Africa, which has one of the highest patient to doctor ratios, currently has a deficit of 600 junior doctors.
According to Motsoaledi, provinces had a statutory duty to ensure these posts are funded.
He stated that the provinces must create jobs in hospitals depending on the accreditation numbers by the Health Professions Council of South Africa, because internships are still part of training.
"The provinces that have to carry huge numbers of interns are the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. If those provinces don’t budge, then you experience a problem. I have been telling them that they have to fill those posts.” Said Motsoaledi.
Motsoaledi threatened to take these provinces to court if they did not act, stating that it will be embarrassing.
However, he expressed his hope that it will not come to that.
The Western Cape Health Department defended itself, saying that it had assigned seven positions for interns, but require more funds from Treasury to create more posts.
eNCA reported that the other provinces had not yet commented on the matter.
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