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Academics from the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine are dissatisfied with being strong-armed into doing extra duty at public hospitals that faced crisis situations.

The academics also claimed that the process to enlist their services was not well planned, and they will not receive compensation for work done in hospitals, over and above their university duties.

Some academics said they were required to work at the King Edward Hospital VIII as well as the King Dinuzulu hospital from December, where they were required to work in the outpatients and other departments.

They labelled their new work directive as “exploitation” because of the work load they would have to deal with.

And, if they were not satisfied, the academics said they were asked to find new jobs.

“We do not mind helping out in times of a crisis, we are here to heal not kill patients. But why exploit us?" said one academic from the university who requested anonymity..

He continued: “They gave us a take it or leave it ultimatum, which makes us feel like our value means nothing to the department of health.”

The academic said that the instruction was given by the head of the medical school but no plan of action had accompanied it.

“We were just told we would have to report to these hospitals and perform various duties there, and we are also expected to fulfil our other academic duties.

“No proper plan was presented to us regarding how this system is going to work, who would have to go where, and how we should balance performing multiple duties at once. We need answers,” said another academic who also declined to be identified.

The academics said they previously offered their services for free at King Edward VIII Hospital, but were now feeling exploited by being forced to work for no pay.

KZN MEC for Health Dr Sibongiseni Dlomo declined to comment as he was still to discuss the matter with the parties involved.

Sunday Independent