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Johannesburg - The Solidarity Occupational Guild for Medical Practitioners on Friday welcomed the proposal by the department of health that the internship period for prospective doctors might be shortened from two years to one year.

Morné Malan, senior researcher at the Solidarity Research Institute, said the proposal would not only contribute to the alleviation of the pressure on the institutions responsible for this training but would also address the shortage of already accredited doctors.

He said that currently, medical students were expected to complete a two-year internship as well as a compulsory community service year.

"Unfortunately, these internships increasingly acquired the characteristics of obstacles for the profession rather than to create opportunities for the expansion of knowledge and the necessary preparation for the student's career," Malan said. 

"We see too often that these programmes are known for the poor management, limited leadership, inhuman working environments, and enormous workloads."

Malan said the occupational guild emphasised that although this step was in the right direction, the accreditation of private institutions to offer these internships was still the most advantageous option.

"The primary issue is not the time that is taken from a prospective medical practitioner’s career, but rather the fact that this time is wasted," he said. 

"The quality and management of medical doctor’s practical training are sometimes horrific and this while training in the private sector is a significant need for both student and the industry, but not available."

African News Agency (ANA)