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Guest Cambia

Working in South Africa

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Does anyone have any experience of or know anything about working in South Africa in psychiatry (at SHO equivalent level) ??



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Do you have any specific queries in mind???

Basic set up of medical training out there:

6yrs med school (in about 9different schools around the country)

1yr 'internship' (prho), many specialities, much exp

2nd yr 'community service' (compulsory, sho-type level), varied experience -from general dogs body in a tertiary centre to last stop saloon in the 'boondoos' (and trust me when the rta come in the door, you ARE the trauma team!!!). essentialy a prerequisite to registration, and used to service much needed rural areas. Some are lucky (and the ucas-style application is ALL about luck) and get to do at a teaching centre or at least in a speciality of preference.

Then the fun starts with being a 'reg'.

Usualy around 4years. Centred around the big centres. You do clinics, ward work, anything you can to help.

Psych is massively under staffed with one national survey identifying 400-odd psychiatrist practicing in the country (Flischer et al 93-ish). Rural area services are run by nurse specialists essentially and non-specialist doctors.

In terms of exams, they have a FCPsych. MRCPsych exempts you from part i (ALOT of neuro, etc) and you have to sit part ii before being recognised as a specialist by the GMC equivalent (HPCSA). Though you could probably work as a reg without it.

Unless ur centre has a trial running, you will find ur knowledge of Haloperidol (etc) v useful as thats all u'll be using! Ofcourse private medicine is completely different, with Olanzapine et al. being available easily.

In terms of actualy working, they fail to recognise our degrees (which is rich cause i see a WHOLE lot of SA drs working here w/o PLAB!!!). I believe they just passed a law to allow one to bypass this. An individual hospital (rather than the usual employing body -provincial health authority) has the right to employ an overseas doctor in the public sector for upto 3 years without needing to apply for HPCSA registration. This is to try to allow S-T foreign, traditionally missionary, workers to fill much needed gaps especially in rural areas and ofcourse esp in general surgery and medicine.

As for where to work, well pick an area, then pick a hospital, write to the 'super' (Superintendant, aka Medical director) and hope.


nb please dont hesitate to correct an inaccuracies.

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