Final year medical students are in the dwang because they cannot register for their so called ‘Zuma Year’, the compulsory practical year before they formally qualify to commence their professional careers.
The application process for fresh doctors to apply for internships and community service in 2019 should have started in May but the Department of Health has not set up the process as yet.
Meanwhile Solidarity Youth said earlier today it has already addressed a letter to the Department of Health about the issue but the Department could still not give any indication when the process and system would open so students can apply for placements next year.
According to Solidarity Youth coordinator Paul Maritz, the delays in the application process are now becoming an annual issue which impact students right across South Africa in a major way. “It is key that every student gets a placement that is not only timeous but one that also affords each student an opportunity to apply for posts of his or her choice,” Maritz said.
Given the circumstances of students who, by the end of 2017, had still not been placed to fulfil their obligations at the various medical facilities all over the country in 2018, Solidarity Youth is concerned about the current state of affairs, and we want to prevent a situation where students who are currently finishing their studies at various universities in the country have to endure a repeat of last year’s issues.
According to the Department’s own policy document entitled “Internship and Community Placement Guidelines for 2018/19” students should have already begun applying for placements of their choice.
According to Maritz, the inexplicable delays caused by the Department has an adverse effect on both the members of Solidarity Youth and other students who are being submitted to all this red tape. “Many of the students have family and other responsibilities and they now find themselves in unenviable positions which have been directly caused by the Department of Health,” Maritz said.
“Solidarity Youth requests the Department to initiate the process immediately to ensure that the department stick to its own published guidelines. Solidarity Youth also requests that the current system, which is procedurally unfair towards students and which prevents them from smooth planning be revisited,” Maritz said.