Medical students spend money on posts, medical association calls payments ‘unethical’

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By Sam Spiller, Nathan Craig 12h ago

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Cape Town – Medical students are willing to pay up to R100,000 for internships at preferred hospitals across the country.

The haggling between medical students took place on Facebook and on messaging apps like Telegram.

The Western Cape, Gauteng, and KwaZulu-Natal are some of the most desirable places for final year medical students to complete a two-year internship followed by a year of community service before they can become special doctors. whole.

Some students have offered financial incentives of thousands of rand to exchange hospital positions with other students, while others have attempted to auction investments to repay student loans.

Medical students could land positions in hospitals located in rural areas or large cities. On Facebook, a group called “Swapping Out: Medical Internship and Commserve in SA” has around 4,800 members and up to 1,800 members in the South African Association of Young Physicians’ Internship Cycle group (Judasa ) 2021 on the Telegram app.

This is where the horse trade takes place. This week, screenshots of medical interns from groups offering to sell their allowances were posted on social media.

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In the Judasa group on Telegram, a student, whose messages have since been deleted, posted a message on behalf of a friend who offered 100,000 Rand to someone to take their place in Bloemfontein in exchange for ‘a place in Potchefstroom or Gauteng.

The message read: “First come, first served. His parents are lawyers and everything will be done above the board and a formal contract will be established. The money will be transferred and reflect the same day. Cash can be arranged if you prefer.

Another student, also in the Judasa group, called for tenders for her placement in Potchefstroom at R40,000. “All hospitals are welcome because I am using this initiative to help pay off student loans. Auctions will be kept private for protection. “

A student placed at Frere Hospital offered to swap his seat for any other hospital and sweetened the offer with an R80,000 handbag.

A medical intern seeking a community service internship made it clear that she had no money, but was willing to offer an UberEats meal or pay for a dinner at a restaurant as a gift. thanks.

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Users were invited to message both people directly if they were interested.

Many interns confirmed this to be common practice among medical students and hospital interns. One trainee said he learned about it during his six years of study and at one point thought it was getting a stipend.

Dr Akhtar Hussain, public sector chairman of the South African Medical Association (Sama), said the payments were unethical and unacceptable. “We do not support this and it needs to be investigated,” he said. “We have to go further, this is corruption.”

Hussain said he had heard of the practice. “They have their own groups,” he explained. “If someone wants to go to Gauteng, Pretoria to Cape Town, or if one wants to go to Durban. These are mutual transfers to their places of choice. As for the money, I heard those kinds of rumors, but no one came forward and said, “I paid for this transfer.” “

Dr. Kerrin Begg, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Affairs at UCT’s Faculty of Health Sciences, said: “I can understand that students still feel extremely stressed out, but we definitely wouldn’t tolerate the payment. or whatever for the posts. It is contrary to everything we are advocating.

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Tiyara Arumugam is hoping for a community service internship in her home province of KwaZulu-Natal. She completed an internship at the Pietermaritzburg Hospital Complex which provides primary, secondary and tertiary health care services and includes Northdale Hospital, Edendale Hospital and Grey’s Hospital.

“I need my community service internship or it would be like the last few years don’t matter. I will not be allowed to continue my career and practice medicine without my community service, but we have to be placed, the health ministry cannot just forget about us. I need this exchange and I have to stay at KZN, ”she said.

Arumugam said she tried to do a three-way swop but wasn’t very lucky.

“If you’ve found someone you want a placement, but doesn’t want to move into yours, it’s possible to arrange the swap if you can find someone to complete the loop and you’ll end up doing three – way exchange. Trading is possible as long as you close the loop. “

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