By Jack Bloom MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health:
The Gauteng Health Department employs 261 foreign doctors in hospitals and clinics, more than half of whom are from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This is revealed in a written reply to my questions by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu.
According to Mahlangu: “There has definitely been an increase in the number of foreign health professionals qualifying for endorsement letters which allow them to seek employment within the public sector of South Africa”.
Foreign doctors comprise only 4% of the 6601 doctors employed by the department, but form a much larger percentage at certain hospitals.
Heidelberg hospital has 8 foreign doctors who are 24% of the total, followed by Far East Rand Hospital which has 20 foreign doctors, who are 17% of all the doctors there.
Other hospitals with high percentages of foreign doctors include the following:
- Pholosong Hospital – 14 foreign doctors (16%)
- Carltonville Hospital - 5 foreign doctors (16%)
- Natalspruit Hospital – 25 foreign doctors (15%)
- Sebokeng Hospital – 19 foreign doctors (13%)
Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital employs the most foreign doctors (47), followed by George Mukhari (40) and Tembisa (22).
Most foreign doctors come from the Democratic Republic of Congo (147), followed by Zimbabwe (22), Nigeria (18), Botswana (16) and Lesotho (9).
It is likely that more foreign doctors will be employed because we are increasingly short of doctors and not enough local doctors are being trained.
This is a positive development provided we ensure that foreign doctors are genuinely qualified and properly oriented to local conditions.