Phaahla confirms almost 300 doctors already employed, more to be hired in March

Minister of Health Joe Phaahla said they have already employed almost 300 doctors. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/Independent Newspapers

Minister of Health Joe Phaahla said they have already employed almost 300 doctors. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/Independent Newspapers

Published Mar 6, 2024


Minister of Health Joe Phaahla says they have already employed 270 out of 800 doctors who have not been absorbed by the department after they completed their community service.

Phaahla said provinces have already advertised 1,100 posts and the process to employ hundreds of doctors will continue until the end of March.

He said they will get a clear picture once it was concluded, but they have been working with medical associations to identify doctors who still needed to be taken in by the department.

The department came under fire a few weeks ago after it emerged that there were 800 doctors who have not been employed.

The doctors also took to the streets to protest.

Phaahla, who was part of Ministers in the Social Services Cluster who were answering questions in Parliament on Wednesday, said Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana allocated an additional R3.7 billion to employ the doctors.

He said the money was ring-fenced and provinces would not it use for any purpose other than to employ the doctors.

The funds that have been made available by Godongwana during the Budget will get the 800 doctors into the department.

“With this assistance from April 2024, provinces working with us we are working on unfreezing posts and making sure that in doing so the young people who qualify, not only in medicine, but nursing, pharmacy and all other professions can increasingly be employed.

“Just on the focus on the medical side, we have been working with all provinces and two unions. They have given us their data, we have compared that also with posts available in the provinces, which are now activated. I can say to you honourable members working with them we are following this on a weekly basis. All the provinces have been able to advertise posts and to make sure those who want to work in the public service apply.

“As a result of this, as of yesterday just out of 800 who had submitted their details just 270 of those had just received appointment letters. We are certain that by the of March most , if not all, who have indicated interests they will be able to get a placement,” said Phaahla.

He added that provinces advertised the positions and the picture will get clearer by the end of the month.

The problem in not employing the doctors has been due to cuts by National Treasury.

The allocations to the department have been reduced over the last few years and it has made it difficult to get new doctors.

Bur the additional R3.7bn will be able to assist in this regard.

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