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Sama questions move to reduce intern working hours

MEC Nomafrench Mbombo yesterday announced a change in the shift guidelines for interns.

FILE: Doctors operate on a patient. Picture: Rahima Essop/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The South African Medical Association (Sama) has questioned a move to reduce medical intern's working hours.

Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo, yesterday announced a change in the shift guidelines for interns in the province.

From January, a continuous shift will not be allowed to exceed 24 hours.

The medical association's Mark Sonderup says the decision raises other concerns.

"The Health Professions Council has already announced their plan to reduce that guideline to 26, now we have 24. The bigger picture here is 'if you're going to reduce, what are you going to fill it with?'."

However, Sama's Zahid Badroodien says it does not address the underlying issue of a lack of job opportunities.

"They need to address, with urgency, the fact that there are unfunded posts within facilities around the country that can accommodate graduating doctors which will address the expected increase in hours which doctors may be required to work."

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