Sick system needs a cure

2012-09-01 14:28

Bosses at some of the country’s biggest public hospitals say they’ve had enough of doctors working in both the public and the private sectors.

This practice is currently allowed in terms of the Public Service Act of 1994, and it’s supposed to be carefully monitored by administrators.

But they say they simply can’t keep track of specialists who sometimes work three jobs: in public hospitals, at medical schools and in the private sector.

The bosses are clear: not all specialists are abusing the system, but those who do directly contribute to ever-lengthening waiting lists for sometimes life-saving surgeries at public hospitals.

Specialists who are moving between the public and private sectors every day may argue that they have the right to earn their living as they see fit.

They may insist that they can manage their time properly, and that patient care is not compromised in the country’s badly overloaded public health sector.

The problem is that our public hospitals desperately need fixing, and repairs are only possible if everybody – the health department,
administrators and doctors, as well as the private sector – pitches in.

Certainly, only some specialists are guilty of splitting their time dangerously, but all patients in the public sector ultimately suffer as queues lengthen.

Those doctors who don’t moonlight have to bear the brunt, picking up their colleagues’ abandoned work. It’s time for the rules to change, and for a full and proper commitment by all public sector doctors.

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