The exodus of dentists to other countries and industries is on the rise as the profession suffers diminishing cash flows due to reduced medical scheme pay-outs, according to the SA Dental Association (Sada).
Although there were 5 500 dentists registered with the Health Professions Council of SA, no more than 4 200 still practiced in the country, the association said this week.
Last year’s Adcorp employment index showed that South Africa’s health-care sector had chronic shortages of dentists, doctors, pharmacists and emergency care professionals.
“The problem is that we are training people who do not stay in the country because they are highly sought-after overseas and the practice in South Africa is not lucrative enough for them to stay,” Sada chief executive Maretha Smit said.
Sada blamed this on reduced pay-outs to dentists by medical aid schemes. Smit said dentistry pay-outs accounted for 8.4 percent of health-care expenditure by schemes in the late 1990s.