Docs get same as bus drivers

2009-05-28 17:00

Cape Town - Noting that a junior doctor earns roughly the same as a bus driver, the Democratic Alliance is calling for a debate in Parliament on health care and doctors' salaries in particular.

Mike Waters, the party's health spokesperson, said on Thursday that a junior doctor in the public sector earns the same amount as one of the Gauteng bus drivers who have just ended their strike for higher wages.

Waters said this is indicative of the apathy with which the government has treated doctors' concerns and the degree to which it has taken advantage of their commitment.

A gross injustice

"A junior doctor, after five years of studying and two years of in-service training, is paid R7 000 per month," he said.

"This is the same as the basic salary of truck drivers, who are required only to have a heavy-duty driver's licence.

"For the amount they are paid, doctors will be expected to work long shifts, make life-and-death decisions every day, and often work in appalling conditions, with outdated equipment and with inadequate support. This is a gross injustice which has been ignored for too long."

Student doctors leaving country

Waters said that because of all this, doctors are de-motivated.

"This disrespect for doctors is shown in many other ways," he said.

"Community service, for example, continues to be mismanaged, with some student doctors not receiving placements at all, and some only finding out at the last minute where they are going.

"This situation is resulting in 10% of student doctors leaving the country even before they do their community service and are able to register."