The department of health claims to have resolved the shambles with their online application system for community service doctors, but according to scores of doctors, this is far from true.
The Junior Doctors Association of South Africa’s (Judasa) Telegram chat group for young doctors hoping to apply for placement next year has been flooded by healthcare professionals who fear they may be unemployed by January, since registrations close today.
They have been unable to access the site, and both the e-mail and telephonic helplines have been less than useless.
National health spokesperson Popo Maja told The Citizen last week: “We acknowledge when the system first went live, there were problems. This has, however, been rectified.”
He claimed the problem had been rectified and applicants could now easily access the site, update their details, and apply for positions. He also claimed they had improved call centres to assist those experiencing problems.
“Unfortunately, there have been up to 5 000 tickets each day, which exceeded the capacity of the call centre. The call centre team have been working extended hours to deal with the backlog.”
But, according to those reaching out to Judasa, the system has not improved in the least. Many can’t access the site, while those who can, are unable to view or apply for any positions.
Some appear to have been deregistered and others claim their uploaded documents have simply been deleted several times.
Many of the doctors have also complained about the department’s strict placement policies, which they say forces them to work in rural areas.
Considerations such as being married or pregnant are clearly indicated as bearing no weight in placement, with the only qualifying criteria being a medical condition which requires placement near your physician, or a child who has settled in a school.
“This year, we increased the number of choices to five, of which a maximum of three may be in a given province. Applicants are forced to include rural posts in their selection,” Maja said.
Neither Judasa nor the Health Professions Council of SA responded to requests for comment.