Scores of newly qualified junior doctors and hundreds of other medical staff are unable to find placements, despite staff shortages. Nearly 200 doctors, 325 nurses and 200 other health workers are unemployed, according to Hire our Medical Heroes, a campaign pressuring the government to take on more SA medical staff to tackle the pandemic.

A department of health spokesperson did not respond to repeated requests for comment. Alex Van Den Heever, an expert in the administration of public health at Wits University, said  the government is trying to rein in its huge national wage bill, “so there will be an emphasis on freezing posts”, including medical ones.

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