The South African Medical Association (SAMA) has slammed the Department of Health for its failure to release community service placements for doctors on time for next year.

They say that the department’s inability to guarantee placement for doctors has triggered anger and uncertainty, with students unable to complete their degrees without serving internship and community service.

SAMA Chairperson Dr Akhtar Hussain explains the legal process ahead to ensure these students are placed as soon as possible.

“This is a chronic problem for the last 10 years that every year the interns qualify [at the] end of December and they’re supposed to start on the 1st of January for their internship training for two years. This year they said they don’t have funds to place those interns for their internship training, without intern training they cannot be complete doctors,” says Hussain.

 

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Meanwhile, Department of Health spokesperson Foster Mohale says the department is working closely with National Treasury to resolve the matter.

Mohale, however, says he cannot confirm when the final announcement of placements will be made.

“The consultations between the national Department of Health and provincial Department of Health are ongoing, so we will be able to make an announcement in due course. We will also make the outcomes of our discussions public in due course,” says Mohale.