Some doctors in South Africa’s public health sector have been exposed to about 30% pay cut after the national department of health introduced a new overtime policy.
These doctors according to reports have protested against the policy warning that there will be a mass exodus of professional health workers from SA’s public health sector if the policy is effected.
BuzzSouthAfrica gathered that most of the doctors are specialists. And, have indicated that a major crisis would render the country’s public health sector useless if the issue isn’t amicably resolved immediately.
To them, the new overtime policy would prevent doctors from exercising claims over overtime. That, they argued, would further cripple the public healthcare sector which is already overburdened.
Already, the South African Medical Association (Sama) has indicated that it will be lodging a formal dispute with the National Bargaining Council over the department’s decision.
That, was after the Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi signed and released the new overtime policy.
Reporting this, News24 quoted a paediatric specialist who said:
“Doctors provide overtime cover far in excess of what is contracted or paid for.
Reducing salaries for the overtime cover, particularly for offsite means that there will be less emergency cover and night cover.
The specialist cover is provided constantly to junior doctors by a way of expertise and advice given throughout the day or night, whether the specialist is on site or not.
The new policy calls for this cover not to be recognised or paid for. There are not facilities for specialists to sleep on site, they are not given days off, even when they have covered a 24-hour stretch.
The overtime policy now seeks to reduce this emergency cover and continuous cover that specialists have been providing despite the fact that the government does not pay for the majority of that cover.”
However, the department of health has indicated interest in working with stakeholders to resolve the issues surrounding the 30% pay cut for doctors.