Health practitioners express frustration as they are in limbo.
Hundreds of qualified doctors still waiting to be placed for their mid-year internship intake would eventually be allocated a position despite the frustrating delays in their placement, said the South African Medical Association (Sama).
More than 200 qualified doctors expressed frustration and worry as they have heard no word from the department of health on the mid-year internship intake which is set to start next month.
With some waiting for placement for more than a year, most had completed their studies this year and have been waiting several months to be placed by the health department’s Internship and Community Service Programme (ICSP).
“We have applied for the midyear cycle, which is supposed to start placing us from 11 June, but on Friday, they said they postponed the placement as some posts still need to be funded,” said a medical graduate.
But the excuse of lack of funding was invalid, as the health department had always known they would need to allocate and place medical interns, said a Walter Sisulu University medical graduate, who also wanted anonymity.
According to an e-mail sent by the ICSP to the graduates on Friday, the health department was finalising the process for the midyear intake due to the extension of the academic year at higher education institutions.
But Sama, which was in talks with the health department on the intakes, said the students will definitely be placed, despite the delay from the department.
Sama chair Dr Angelique Coetzee explained that graduates first have to go through a two-year internship programme, followed by one year community service before they can become doctors. For the July intake, 118 medical graduates had already been allocated funds and accreditation. About 214 were still outstanding.
The technical advisory committee meeting was actually scheduled for tomorrow, instead of Thursday, she said.
She said despite the delay, all outstanding medical interns are assured that they will eventually be placed.