DA KZN: Health MEC’s silence over registrar intake is shattering

Dr Imran Keeka, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on Health

The Democratic Alliance is appalled by the news that there will be no July intake of registrars at UKZN’s Medical School.

This is an added crisis for health care in KZN.  Regrettably, provincial Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo appears to be either completely unperturbed or simply unaware.  The lack of concern over this situation by either the MEC or his HOD is shattering.

Registrars form a pillar of strength in providing specialised health services in hospitals where they train.  They are intermediaries between junior and senior levels of care and provide, depending on the year of study, very professional and skilled services.  There is very little to question when we consider that South Africa has some of the best-trained specialist’s right here at home.  All were registrars.

There being no registrar intake in KZN adds to the burden of a shortage of skilled medical professionals.  This compounds the current crisis of a shortage of medical personnel that already exists.  The knock on effect means that fewer specialists will graduate at the end of this cycle of intake.

Some of the critical lifesaving areas such as emergency surgery, paediatrics, anaesthesia, obstetrics and gynaecology will be hit hardest.  Specialised mother and child hospitals such as in Newcastle already have a problem with no registrars or a fulltime specialised paediatrician.  Most shockingly there is only “phone cover” provided for babies on life support. There can be no doubt that this will lead to a higher death rate at such institutions comparatively.

Earlier this year it was revealed that the 2014 intake had been halved.  This was bad enough.  And now with no mid-year intake whatsoever, this is a very real vote of no confidence in health care concern and delivery in this province.

The DA expects MEC Dhlomo to address this matter urgently and report back at the next meeting of the KZN health portfolio committee.  Whether the issues are budget or training related, they must be resolved.

It is unacceptable that KZN should be allowed to slide into a situation where there is no provision whatsoever for registrars should such a trend continue.