Why doctors are flooding out South Africa – and it’s not just because of the NHI

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While the prospect of the NHI is one reason why many of South Africa’s doctors choose to emigrate, it’s not the only reason – and other long-standing issues include low salaries, poor working conditions, and job security.

This was revealed in a City Press report, which asked the Far East Rand Hospital CEO and others why doctors are leaving South Africa.

While the doctors noted the National Healthcare Insurance Bill (NHI) as a concern for some doctors, they listed problems that had existed long before the introduction of the Bill.

The researchers, in results published in the Human Resources for Health journal in 2019, concluded that, of 497 medical graduates, 89% (444) were still working in South Africa while 6.8% (34) had emigrated – meaning doctors were already leaving.

One reason for this is the incompetence and poor administration of South Africa’s registration system.

As many are forced to wait for their community service, many take opportunities in other English-speaking countries, including Canada, the UK and Australia.

In January, it was reported that 800 qualified doctors could not find positions in public health posts despite staff shortages at state-owned hospitals.

“Annually, the department cites budget constraints as a barrier to hiring qualified medical doctors, yet no substantial measures are evident to solve the funding dilemma,” the South African Medical Association Trade Union (Samatu) said.

“This contributes immensely to the web of factors that prompt the continuous emigration of qualified doctors.”

Canadian immigration consultant Nicholas Avramis confirmed interest in Canada, noting his offices have received around 17,000 enquiries from South Africans looking to move.

A stand-out benefit for South Africans moving to Canada – which many healthcare professionals may not know – is that local doctors and nurses are exempt from having to get re-certified for practice when they make the move.

Other reasons to move include better pay and much better working conditions.

In South Africa, it is more than low just salaries pushing doctors out the door; it also the high volume of patients, lack of resources, criminality, and old equipment.

This is why our doctors and nurses are leaving to go to other countries and work for a better life and working environment.

Avramis noted that top medical care (and the highly skilled doctors that come with it) is part of an extremely competitive global market – and if they can migrate to a better-paying and better-managed market, they will do that.

Source: https://businesstech.co.za/news/government/745957/why-doctors-are-flooding-out-south-africa-and-its-not-just-because-of-the-nhi/



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