The Western Cape Government Health (WCGH) understands fully the anxiety of young health professionals (doctors and all other categories of health professionals, e.g. physiotherapists, radiographers, occupational therapy, speech therapy, etc) who are waiting for placement in 2018.
It is crucial to note that there has been a delay with the national placement system. While the first round was allocated, we are still waiting for the information from the second round to become available. WCGH will continue to support the National Department of Health (NDoH) to ensure that all available resources are efficiently placed in the health system.
The following is an update on the progress in the Western Cape:
The Western Cape originally gazetted a total of 131 available posts for 1 January 2018. Upon a request from NDoH for assistance, 11 additional medical interns have been added to the list for placement. That brings the total of available intern posts to 142 as of 1 January 2018.
The confirmation letters were dispatched on 5 December to the various facilities.
In the case of Community Service, the province still has vacancies to accommodate doctors and allied health professionals. It remains challenging to implement placements when the information of who has been allocated in the 2nd round is not available, but we are expecting to receive feedback by the end of this week.
Once an applicant has been selected for placement, the National Department of Health issues a letter of confirmation to the applicant, confirming that their allocation has been made.
Once an allocation is confirmed by NDOH, the province will issue the contract of employment to the health professional. The letter from NDoH only confirms that the allocation has been made, but it does not constitute a formal offer of employment.
The Provincial department is reviewing the allocations and will finalise the placements and offers of employment as soon as possible.
This matter (placement of medical interns and community service for health workers) is on the agenda of the National Health Council taking place this week. Future allocations of funds for medical interns and community service will require national policy decisions and as well as the support of National Treasury.
In the meantime the Province is exploring ways to take on more junior doctors, including discussions with the private health sector as well as professional and academic bodies. The long term funding solutions to this problem will require innovative thinking from the whole of society.
The Western Cape would like to thank the medical professionals and their families for their dedication and patience. We look forward to welcoming the bright young minds into the health system.