Shock to the system: Gauteng intern doctors not paid
Health department blames an admin slip-up that affects interns and community service doctors across the province
Interns and community service doctors in Gauteng face a bleak month after being told they will not be paid at the end of January because they have not been added to the government’s human resources payment system in time.
Interns are students who have finished six years of medical school and have to work at government hospitals for two years in order to qualify.
A letter was sent to community service and intern doctors at the Helen Joseph, Chris Hani Baragwanath and Charlotte Maxeke Academic hospitals, saying: “Kindly note that salaries will not be paid on January 31 due to the late creation of posts at Central Office.
“The posts were created on 22 January in the afternoon, the mandates were prepared on 23 January 2019 and was sent by courier the morning of 24 January to e-Government for processing.
“Unfortunately it was not enough time for e-Government to process them before the salary run on 28 January therefore, your salaries will be paid on/before 28 February 2019.”
A source, who asked not to be named since intern doctors are not allowed to speak to media, said doctors across the province were sent the same letter.
A circular to sent to Helen Joseph Hospital staff also explained that none of the community service doctors, physiotherapists, speech therapists or occupational therapists doing community service would be paid on time.
The reason was that the department “was still busy with the appointment of statutory posts”.
However, “a special payment run has been created as a matter of urgency”.
It does not indicate a payment date.
Gauteng health department spokesperson Khotso Rabothata promised to issue a statement on Wednesday afternoon, as he had been dealing with the matter since Tuesday evening, but by Thursday had not responded to repeated requests for comment.
The DA’s Gauteng health spokesperson, Jack Bloom, said he was appalled that junior doctors would suffer because of the inefficiency of the Gauteng health department.
“The department must make a plan to pay them as soon as possible, rather than give a poor excuse that violates labour law and will cause acute distress to doctors who have to pay their bills like everyone else.”
A 2018 payslip from an intern in Mpumalanga shows intern doctors are paid R55,919 a month before tax, including 60 hours’ overtime, and about R38,613 after deductions.