Lost jobs: UK doctors to sue

2008-10-06 00:00

Two medical doctors from the United Kingdom are considering suing the KZN Health Department after they were promised jobs and later told that the posts could not be filled due to insufficient funds.

The doctors, Sam Rigg (27) and Matthew Blundell (26), resigned from their jobs in Brighton, England, after being promised jobs at Stanger hospital.

“We signed our one-year contracts in March this year and were due to commence working at the hospital in September,” Rigg told The Witness yesterday.

But when they arrived at the hospital in September they were told they could not start working as the paperwork had not been finalised.

“We were told that it was only a matter of time before the matter could be resolved,” Rigg said.

The two doctors were then told, allegedly by the hospital management, that they should take the matter up with the regional manager.

“We phoned the regional manager, a Mrs Dube, but she never returned our calls.”

Getting no joy from the regional manager, Rigg and Blundell yesterday phoned the office of the provincial Health Department’s chief financial officer (CFO).

“The secretary in the CFO’s office informed us … that the CFO had refused to approve our posts, saying that there was a shortage of funds for the posts.”

According to the two, they are not the only ones in this predicament. “We know of another Dutch doctor who is also in the same predicament.”

Rigg and Blundell told The Witness that they have received other job offers in Stellenbosch.

But they are not prepared to go without a fight.

They said they will meet an attorney today with with a view to taking the department to court.

“We want to sue the department so we can recover the lost income,” they said.

They added that according to their contract, they were to be paid R174 243 each per annum as well as a “rural allowance”.

Responding to questions from The Witness, department spokes-man Leon Mbangwa denied that the two doctors’ posts had been frozen.

He said the department is still trying to arrange work permits for them.

“We are currently working on these doctors’ work permits.

“We do not understand why, when we are still busy with this process, they are running to the media,” Mbangwa said.

The Witness understands, however, that thousands of posts have been frozen at the department in line with the move to cut down on expenditure after the department incurred an over-expenditure of about R1,2 billion in the last financial year.

In July this year, Health CFO Sipho Buthelezi told the legislature’s Health portfolio committee the department has been instructed by the provincial Treasury not to fill over 33 000 vacant posts because of a lack of funding for them.

About 15 439 of these posts are frozen and can be filled when funds become available, but 18 000 posts had to be totally “abolished”, the department said.

At the time, Buthelezi said the department had set itself a target ratio of one nurse to 40 patients, while the ratio at the time stood at one nurse to 69 patients.


Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.