The critical shortage of healthcare professionals is being exacerbated by delays in finding interns nationally.
Dr. Edward Ngwenya of the SA Medical Association (Sama) said the problem is an annual problem that affects the whole country.
The shortage of medical professionals came under scrutiny during a parliamentary debate last month. It turns out that in SA there is less than 1 doctor per 1,000 patients.
“It’s unfortunate,” Ngwenya said, adding that the doctor-patient relationship is getting bigger every year .
“It was also found that there are vacancies in all nine provinces.”
Sama said, the Covid-19 pandemic is not only affecting the general population, but many more healthcare professionals who are on the front lines fighting the disease.
“More than 1,000 workers in the Health services, some of which were doctors, were lost due to the pandemic.
“Sama also notes that medical skills have been removed from the Interior Ministry’s list of critical skills, which lists skills that are in short supply for work visas or permanent residency permits,” said Ngwenya.
He said that under the national state of emergency, the government and the national health ministry should have taken the opportunity to intensify efforts to fill vacancies and draw up mitigating plans. He said not enough has been done in this regard.
“Sama noted that the critical doctor shortage is a burden on practicing doctors as they are reaching their limits and are open to attacks and harassment. That doesn’t bode well for their physical and mental health.
“Sama recommends swift action in implementing the plans at the provincial and national levels.”
In conversation with Tumelo Mototoane by eNCA On Wednesday, Dr. Katlego Mothudi from the Board of Healthcare Funders, to ensure adequate healthcare, one must address the supply of healthcare workforce and the maintenance of the healthcare sector.
“The reasons for the deficit are manifold. It is important to review health workforce deployment as we are talking about reforming the entire health sector in the context of universal health coverage,” he said.
Mothudi told the World Health Organization (WHO ) recommends that when looking at the quality of health services, you should look at the six pillars, one of which is the workforce.
He said the deficit is a global problem and not typical for SA or Africa, but domestic and WHO forecasts were worrying.
“By 2030 the deficit could decrease in some countries, but in SA and Africa it will increase. It is important to look at the supply side and sustaining the healthcare sector to ensure we have adequate healthcare service delivery,” he said.
According to “2030 Human Resources for Health Strategy predicted that unless urgent action is taken, there would be a shortage of approximately 34,000 registered nurses by 2025.
Mothudi said at the Looking at contribution dynamics: it could be argued that the population is increasing faster than healthcare workforce training, while there are also aging healthcare workers across the industry. Do we have a good pipeline from high school in terms of career guidance, quality of students coming through? Are we concentrating on math and health-related subjects?” he asked.
He said that health workers are an employment law matter and that countries need to ensure that qualified staff are employed, themselves comfortable and empowered there.< /p>
“When you look at the differences between the public and private sectors, it becomes worrying. We need to look at broader policies from a leadership perspective on how to prepare and people from an early age for the sector. span> span>
“The topics are also of an economic nature. Global migration is a problem and healthcare workers are drawn to other countries where they are treated better.”
Support independent journalism by using the Subscribe to Sunday Times. Just R20 for the first month.