Today's Labour News

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medicaldoctorThe Witness reports that medical unions have sent a clear warning to the Department of Health to ensure medical students secure internships and community service posts next year, or face court action.  

Students in their final years of the MBChB degree have to complete a two-year internship and a one-year community service stint at a public medical institution.  But at the beginning of 2017, scores of medical students were left without places.  At a meeting with a number of unions last week, the Department of Health’s (DOH’s) director-general, Malebona Matsoso, gave an assurance that all students would be placed by the start of 2018.  Unions, however, expressed pessimism over this promise, saying the backlog created by students not being placed in 2017 would likely compound the problem.  Dr Donald Gumede of the National Healthcare Professionals Association warned:  “If next year (2018) the same thing as this year (2017) happens, we will take [the department] to court.”  The SA Medical Association’s KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson, Dr Mvuyisi Mzukwa, said the union would also seek legal action against the department if students were not placed next year.  Yet, Dr Michael van Niekerk of the Junior Doctors Association of SA (Judasa) said their union was part of the meeting with Matsoso and they were hopeful that all students would get places.  Poonitha Naidoo of the Medical Rights Advocacy Network doubted that all students would be placed, because of the backlog.  The DA’s shadow minister of health, Patricia Kopane, said they would be in “full support” of unions taking legal action against the DoH.

  • Read this report by Kerushun Pillay in full at The Witness

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