Following complaints from the South African Medical Association (Sama) over the non-payment of medical interns working in state hospitals in Gauteng, the provincial health department confirmed on Monday that 53 trainee doctors had received their outstanding salaries for January and February this year. . †
Medical interns paid
The department’s spokesman, Kwara Kekana, said that of the 56 medical interns who were due to receive their salary for two months, 53 were paid on March 7, 2022.
She said payment of the back salaries for the other three interns was underway.
Sama Last week condemned the non-payment of medical interns in the province, calling it alarming that senior doctors at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto had to help the unpaid interns out of pocket.
Delays in payments
Kekana said Gauteng’s health department (GDoH) had 429 medical interns who were funded annually. However, the national health ministry had in the past allocated interns that exceeded the GDoH’s allocated budget.
She said another 203 interns had been assigned by the state health ministry to the province by 2022.
“This has resulted in the GDoH having to first confirm additional full funding for any surplus interns assigned to the province beyond the available baseline of GDoH-funded posts. Unfortunately, this leads to delays in payments to some interns,” Kekana said in a statement statement†
“The GDoH is continuously involving all parties involved to ensure better planning and staff are not negatively impacted.”
The provincial health department apologized to all medical interns affected by the delays in paying their salaries.
Cuban doctors in SA
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has been criticized for paying skilled Cuban doctors in South Africa high salaries, despite expired contracts and unemployed local doctors.
Democratic Alliance (DA) MPL and health spokesman in Gauteng, Jack Bloom, said the department spent R30.3 million on Cuban doctors last year and still employed 14 who are between R78,000 and R91,000. earned per month.
dr. Nomathemba Mokgethi, MEC of the Provincial Council of Health, said some Cuban doctors were still employed because of a government-government agreement signed by South Africa in 1996. She confirmed that 14 Cuban doctors were working in primary health care.
“Cuba as a country is known for the best health outcomes and its experience in prevention and health promotion would help strengthen the district’s health system,” Mokgethi said.
“The Cuban National Doctors also serve as mentors and coaches for the physicians placed in primary care, especially the South African-trained physicians in Cuba.”
Bloom said the contract for the 28 Cuban doctors employed on a one-year contract in May 2020 expired in May last year.
He said the department should be spending on South Africans rather than wasting on Cuban doctors and that expensive Cuban medical training was being investigated for alleged corruption.
“It’s no surprise, but there’s something really weird about it because we have unemployed local doctors and unfilled medical posts,” Bloom said.