The DA welcomes Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s decision to accept the DA’s recommendations from earlier this year to include various professions of medical practitioners on the newly gazetted Critical Skills List.
The DA sent an advisory note in April this year, warning Minsiter Motsoaledi of the implications of the deficiencies in critical positions.
The DA has also constantly put pressure on Government to re-include these positions by posing questions to the Minister of Health as to what the reasons were for omitting these positions from the previous Critical Skills List. Parliamentary questions exposed a shortage of 27 000 critical medical positions that were vacant.
With the inclusion of critical medical positions, the following positions are now rightfully declared as critical:
- Dentists – specialising in community dentistry, maxillofacial and oral pathology and maxillofacial and oral surgery, among others;
- Medical practitioners – specialising in anaesthesiology, cardiothoracic surgery, clinical pharmacology and public health, and paediatrics, among others;
- Pharmacist – including industrial pharmaceuticals, among others;
- Registered Nurses – including critical care nurses, midwives, and childcare nurses, among others.
It is no secret that the healthcare sector, especially the public sector, is suffering from an immense shortage of skilled doctors and nurses.
This coupled with the fact that South Africa is not able to train sufficient doctors and nurses to fill the needs of the country, will surely give doctors and nurses around the country a sigh of relief.
Currently, the public healthcare system displaces about 800 intern doctors each year due to maladministration of funding.
Ideally, there should be no need to get outside assistance with filling critical positions when there are so many intern and community service doctors waiting to be placed, however, this is sadly not the case as it is no secret that the health department constantly mishandles its funding.
By opening up the health sector to foreign, skilled doctors and nurses, it will provide much relief to the short-term future of the health sector in South Africa given the current shortage of qualified doctors and nurses, with the rural areas and the poor benefitting the most.
The DA will now be looking to provide actual solutions to assist the medical community, especially with regards to training interns and community service doctors.