1 August 2016, Cape Town - The University of Cape Town’s Faculty of Health Sciences notes the actions of Dr Yumna Moosa with regards to the publicising of a video containing audio clips of conversations with senior doctors in KwaZulu-Natal during her internship there. We are incensed at the treatment of Dr Moosa, who graduated from this university and is currently registered to do her PhD in Bioinformatics.
We applaud her bravery in taking a stand to raise awareness of the ill-treatment of junior doctors. We note that disciplinary proceedings of the doctors who are alleged to have victimised her are underway, and appeal to the Health Professions Council of South Africa to attend these expeditiously, appropriately and with the seriousness this warrants.
Racism and sexism have been embedded in the health services environment for too long. This is abhorrent and unacceptable. Senior doctors have the responsibility for coaching and mentoring junior doctors, nurturing values and practices imbued with the highest ethical care. This Faculty is committed to addressing any situation that causes its health professionals to experience any other. Where appropriate, this is dealt with by the Faculty’s Professional Standards Committee.
Ill treatment of young doctors works against the values many of us are so passionate about - the basic right of all people to be treated with dignity and respect. The health services workplace is no different to others, and health professional colleagues should not have to be subjected to abuse by senior colleagues. We in the health professions must ensure that we are not part of a system that protects abusers. We call on health professionals who have experienced abuse to come forward and report this to the appropriate bodies so that these practices can be eradicated.
It is the responsibility of health sciences faculties across the country to continue working with health departments to ensure that our junior health professionals are protected from abuse and provided with appropriate support within a system that has made them vulnerable to more senior colleagues.
In a country where there is a critical shortage of doctors, where our juniors are the future of the health system, we can ill-afford to lose young newly trained doctors. We must build a health system based on equity and justice where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.
Professor Gregory Hussey
Related: Times Live article "UCT commends 'brave' junior doctor for exposing bullying‚ sexual harassment"