THE health authorities’ letter to doctors who have spoken publically about the crisis at Port Elizabeth hospitals is like holding a gun to their heads, the SA Medical Association (Sama) says.
Sama chairman Mark Sonderup has said this in referring to the notices the Eastern Cape Department of Health has issued to the doctors asking them to justify their action.
“I’ve seen the letter and anyone who understands labour disciplinary proceedings knows such a letter is standard procedure before disciplinary action is taken,” he said.
“It’s like holding a gun to someone’s head and asking for reasons not to shoot them.”
The doctors are the clinical heads of specialised units at the Dora Nginza, Livingstone and Provincial hospitals.
They said the shortage of doctors and other staff was so serious they would have to limit the services offered, such as offering only life-saving and emergency surgery.
The crisis had arisen because of a moratorium on the appointment of junior doctors and specialists and the department’s not renewing doctors’ contracts, they