SAMA to march on health issues
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Written by Adri van Eeden   
Monday, 25 May 2009

DATE                  :   25 MAY 2009
EMBARGO           :   NONE

SAMA is a professional association representing approximately 17 000 doctors from public and private sector.

SAMA, in addition to being a professional association, also functions as a trade union representing the 7629 doctors in the public sector. In its trade union function it is the legitimate body which negotiate salaries at the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC).

SAMA was encouraged when Government proposed the Occupational Specific Dispensation (OSD), which had the aim of attracting and retaining medical professionals within the public sector. We were encouraged when Government resolved to implement the OSD with effect from 01 July 2008, but have been disappointed by the excessive delays of the employer in this process.

Doctors are angry and have legitimate grievances, and therefore doctors from the South African Medical Association (SAMA) will be marching in Pretoria on Friday 29 May, to protest and demand action on the challenges they face both in the public and private health sectors.

While the main focus will be on the Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD) and public health sector issues, other issues of concern are the Reference Price List (RPL), which acts as a benchmark for private sector doctor fees, and the recently-gazetted dispensing mark-up regulations which have been rejected by dispensing doctors. 

The OSD model is structured to increase salaries based on specific criteria such as performance, qualification, scope of work and experience. Government is being
lambasted for its tardiness in implementation, as well as for the insultingly low offers made in the bargaining process thus far.

Other factors leading to the march on 29 May include deterioration in academic facilities, inadequate numbers of doctors being trained, the poor working conditions for doctors and other health professionals in the public sector and the often atrocious conditions facing patients who seek treatment in our public health facilities.

Both SAMA’s public and private sector doctors remain committed to ensuring that the OSD becomes a reality, as it is critical to prevent the wholesale walkout of doctors from the public sector and from our country. Similarly it is essential for processes such as the RPL and dispensing doctor mark-up to sustain practice viability.
The march on 29 May could lead to further legitimate protest actions by SAMA members if doctors’ demands are not met.



Issued by the Corporate Communication Unit of the South African Medical Association
Enquiries: Corporate Communication Adri van Eeden  012 481 2042

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