The South African Medical Association (SAMA) has given the government a deadline to place all junior doctors as interns (TimesLive (2 July 2021. If this deadline is not met, the association will be heading to court on the doctors’ behalf. According to the association, 288 medical interns, who graduated in March and April, are still awaiting compulsory and constitutionally-mandated placement at public health facilities. SAMA said it is absolutely scandalous that these interns cannot be placed, especially at a time when the country so desperately needs every available hand to deal with the Covid-19 third wave. It added that this raises serious questions about millions of rand spent on Cuban doctors, Digital Vibes and questionable PPE tenders.  SAMA chairperson, Dr Angelique Coetzee, said doctors are overworked and fatigued, and many are facing mental and physical burnout. Yet when there are doctors available to help alleviate the burden, they cannot be placed. Patients are suffering and people are dying because there aren’t enough doctors to care for them, and there aren’t enough doctors because money has been spent on other projects instead of on proper provision of healthcare in our country.

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