Internationally-trained doctors not allowed to practice medicine in SA

The Mercury has reported that Doctors are being refused the opportunity to write board examinations.

According to The Mercury, new regulations by the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) could leave many internationally-trained South African doctors unable to practise medicine in the country.

The HPCSA’s latest policy guidelines published in July state that any South African citizen who holds foreign qualifications will not be allowed to practise medicine in the country unless they complete a specific portion of the SA Medical Board exam. However, in order to write the exam, internationally-trained doctors will have to apply to a South African university for one year, in which they would complete a 12-month internship at local hospitals.

In addition to the policy guidelines, at least 55 qualified doctors were told that they could not proceed at all with registering for the one-year internship and board exams as the HPCSA no longer recognised the institutions at which they studied.

This has left a number of doctors not being able to practice medicine in South Africa, despite the fact that the country is facing a pandemic and shortage of medical staff. Advocate Rene Govender of the SA Internationally Trained Health Professionals Association (SAITHPA) is quoted in the article saying most issues dated as far back as 2018, with the HPCSA being “unsupportive and obstructive” to a large group of doctors by refusing them the opportunity to write board examinations.