Gauteng health promises to pay all intern doctors not paid in January

Ernest Mabuza Journalist
Over 50 intern doctors and community service doctors in Gauteng were not paid in January. The department of health says it will ensure all are paid on February 22. Stock photo.
Over 50 intern doctors and community service doctors in Gauteng were not paid in January. The department of health says it will ensure all are paid on February 22. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Samsonovs

More than 50 intern and community service doctors who were not paid salaries for January will get their money by February 22, Gauteng's health department said on Thursday.

The SA Medical Association Trade Union raised the alarm on Wednesday, saying it had received reports that at least 48 interns, 14 community service doctors and several doctors under Covid-19 contracts in the province had not been paid.

The union said they worked 40 hours a week and put in more than 80 hours of overtime a month. After not being paid, some did not have money for transport to their workplace or to put food on the table.

The union contacted senior officials in the province, including the premier's office and the health department, but had not been given concrete answers or responses.

Explaining what had gone wrong, Gauteng health department spokesperson Kwara Kekana said on Thursday there had been some delays in doctors getting Health Professions Council of SA registrations — a prerequisite for entering into an employment contract with health facilities.

“A secondary circumstance relates to the availability of posts, to accommodate the doctors placed within the province by the national department of health.

“The latter was compounded by a lack of budget, in the January 2021 to March 2021 period, due to an unforeseen increased allocation of medical interns,” said Kekana.

She said the department had managed to secure the required funding for the outstanding cohort.

“It is envisaged that all medical intern appointments will be concluded by February 17, which will enable them to receive their salaries on February 22.”

The DA in Gauteng said the doctors should be paid immediately.

“This non-payment is utterly inexcusable and highlights the continuing mismanagement in the Gauteng health department,” said DA provincial shadow health MEC Jack Bloom. He said late payment of new doctors also happened last year.

“Procedures should surely have been put in place to ensure that it not happen again.”

Bloom said poor leaders should be removed and front-line workers given the priority they deserved.

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