'Sidelined' foreign-trained doctors head to court
Publish date: 07 January 2019
Issue Number: 805
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Foreign-trained medical doctors battling for internship placements are heading to court, claiming they are being sidelined, notes a Times Select report. The Health Department, however, denies there are students who have not been placed. The Legal Resources Centre’s (LRC) Durban regional office has represented more than 200 doctors so far, and it is heading to court again this year. Director Sharita Samuels said SA was in dire need of medical professionals, yet the system was frustrating junior foreign-trained doctors. ‘Earlier (in 2018) we represented 100 students who trained in foreign countries. We won the case, and at the start of the new year they are starting their internships at various hospitals,’ she said. ‘The country is in dire need of doctors mostly in rural areas, and yet the HPCSA (Health Professionals Council of SA) is denying them the chance to practise. These young doctors’ parents spent money to send them to overseas universities, yet their own country rejects them. (In 2019) we are representing 105 more on the same issue, and we are hopeful of winning the case.’ Samuels said she was not sure about the total number needing placement, but ‘there could be hundreds’.