Minister’s intervention into health unemployment crisis welcomed – ANCYL

League says a patient-to-doctor ratio of 1:3198 is alarmingly high which contributes to heightened mortality rate

ANCYL statement on the 800 unemployed medical doctors and other health professionals as well as the Miniter of Health intervention

6 February 2024

The ANCYL welcomes the planned intervention by the Minister of Health, Dr. Joe Phaahla, to address the employment of over 800 unemployed post-community service medical officers and other essential health professionals. This intervention responds to calls made by the ANCYL, trade unions, and broader society, recognizing the urgency as patients currently endure long wait times in hospitals and clinics nationwide.

According to the WHO, our patients-to-doctor ratio is presently at 1 :3198, an alarmingly high figure contributing to prolonged wait times and, consequently, a heightened mortality rate in our hospitals.

As announced by the Minister of Health, provincial health departments, with the authority to advertise permanent medical officer positions, have only posted 239 positions. The posts advertised are found in Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga. This falls short for the confirmed 629 medical officers who recently completed their community service and seek permanent employment across various provinces.

The ANCYL's provincial structures and the ANCYL National Health Sub-Committee will engage in meetings with provincial health departments to ensure the urgent allocation of additional budgets and the formulation of strategies to advertise more positions, particularly in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, North West, and Limpopo—regions currently grappling with over a hundred unemployed doctors.

We call on unions and provincial health departments to collaborate in finding solutions for the employment of all unemployed health professionals. The ANCYL urges SAMA-TLJ to withdraw its court case on the restructuring of commuted overtime, as reported by the Minister. We believe that restructuring commuted overtime is one strategy provincial health departments can use to allocate budgets and employ all unemployed healthcare professionals.

Additionally, we call on the Minister of Health to standardize the appointments of post-community service healthcare workers across provinces, mirroring the approach taken by the national department of health in internship training and community service allocation.

This standardization will contribute to ensuring that all hospitals across the country are adequately staffed.

Issued by Zama Khanyase, National Spokesperson, ANCYL, 6 February 2024