Phaahla announces hundreds of unemployed doctors will be hired by April

Minister of Health Joe Phaahla said they will hire the unemployed doctors. Picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Newspapers

Minister of Health Joe Phaahla said they will hire the unemployed doctors. Picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Newspapers

Published Feb 13, 2024


Health Minister Joe Phaahla has announced that they will hire hundreds of unemployed doctors who have completed their community service training.

Phaahla said Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana will give more details when he tables the Budget in Parliament next week Wednesday.

Initially, the department of health had said government did not have money to employ almost 800 doctors.

Doctors took to the streets in Pietermaritzburg on Monday to protest this decision of government.

However, Phaahla told Parliament on Tuesday, during the debate on the State of the Nation Address, that they have found a solution to the crisis and those doctors who want to join the department will be employed.

He said members of his department were working out details with official from National Treasury in finding funds for the doctors.

Phaahla also said the number of doctors who graduate every year has doubled from 10 years ago.

He said while in 2014 there were 1,338 doctors who graduated, in 2022 there were 2,511 doctors who graduated. This year more than 2,210 doctors graduated.

But they are working out the details with National Treasury to ensure that all the doctors who do not have jobs are employed by April 1.

He said they will start in April. This is the start of the new financial year.

“Deployment of appropriate Human Resources is key to both access and quality and this applies to multiple qualifications and skills within the health care teams. The medical profession is very key in the multidisciplinary teams and that is why we are doing everything to retain as many doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and other members of the teams in the public health system.

“I am therefore happy to announce that working with the Minister of Finance we have a solution to address the current challenge of doctors who want to stay in the public service, but could not be offered funded posts. The details of how we are going to fund the posts will come out from Minister Godongwana’s Budget Speech next Wednesday. Our national team is working with National Treasury team to thrash out the details and working with provincial health departments to speed up the process so that by April 1, 2024 all those who will not be already in posts can be able to start.

“I am confident that with this certainty provinces will be able to start giving appointment letters even before April 1, 2024. I am sorry to disappoint all those political parties who were hoping to cash in on the disappointment of the doctors. The measures we are working on with the Minister of Finance will give us sufficient breathing space while we are working on long term solutions,” said Phaahla.

It is hoped this will end the saga as doctors and their unions have been left frustrated by government’s failure to hire them.

Godongwana will table the budget next Wednesday.

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