oa South African Family Practice - Striking doctors : editorial

Volume 51, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 2078-6190
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6204



There can be no doubt that denying / refusing care to patients in need, through act or omission, goes against the centuries old ethical principles of the medical profession, embodied in the Hippocratic Oath. Legislation also prohibits doctors from striking in South Africa. And yet in spite of all this a strike was mooted by the SAMA leadership, says Prof Mac Lukhele, SAMA Executive Committee member and Chairman of the Committee for Public Sector Doctors: "However, we put our patients first and organising a strike would be a last resort." Last resort? How can a strike put patients first? The fact that a strike was even contemplated is shocking to say the least. Two wrongs do not make a right, and the government's feet-dragging in the implementation of the OSD and poor working conditions do not make a strike by doctors any more legitimate or ethical. Striking public sector doctors not only add to the suffering of the poorest of the poor but also add to the tarnishing of the profession's image. In the long run the damage to the profession will be more than the gain. There are other ways to make your point.

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