SAMHS fills in for striking doctors


The South African Military Health Service has deployed medical teams to hospitals in three provinces where public sector doctors are on strike for higher pay.


State doctors in SA are generally very poorly paid. After a recent strike by bus drivers in Johannesburg, drivers earned more than junior doctors, the former roughly earning R9000 per month and the latter R7000.

The strike is still ongoing despite Health minister Dr Aaron Motjawadi yesterday proposing to doctors a pay increase of between 29% and 53%. SA`s main trade union federation, the Congress of SA Trade Unions have urged doctors to accept the offer.

In the meantime, medical teams consisting of a doctor, one or more nurses and several operational orderlies, commonly known as “ops medics”, are deployed at five hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal, one in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga and one in the Eastern Free State.

A defence department statement says the Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans received a request from the National Department of Health on Monday requesting assistance “to ensure that service delivery to the public at the Provincial Hospitals affected by the labour actions of medical personnel, is not compromised.”

Sisulu “acceded to the request” and authorised the employment of the SAMHS in terms of Section 18(1) of the Defence Act of 2002.