SAMA: Lack of doctors in SA 'no surprise'

SAMA: Lack of doctors in SA 'no surprise'

The South African Medical Association says the revelation that the country has a severe shortage of doctors actually comes as no surprise.

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Health Minister Joe Phaahla says there's currently about one doctor for every one thousand patients in hospitals. 

Phaahla was answering a question in Parliament on the doctor-patient ratio.

SAMA says it's been flagging various issues in the health sector, including the high number of medical professionals leaving the country. 

Chairperson Dr Mvuyisi Mzukwa says they're seeing first-hand the impact the shortage is having on the doctors who are still practising here.

READ: R64bn budget for Health Department amid looming 5th Covid-19 wave

"The consequences are devastating, burnout, mental illness. You can imagine the impact on the patient themselves and the quality of service that is being given to the patient. 

"There's a conflict between the communities and the health care service providers because they are the face of service. It's quite a huge problem." 

He says the situation will further spell more trouble for the Health Department, ranging from damages that are reputational and legal. 

"If patients are poorly managed in a hospital setting, then they complain that they are not happy and they take that to lawyers and then government is litigated. Even the grant that is going to provinces now, that grant is not going to service delivery it's going to settle litigations."


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