In recognition of the critical role that South African doctors play in the healthy functioning of South African society, 16 November has been declared national Doctors’ Day.

“Doctors play a critical role in meeting the healthcare needs of our nation,” said Clinical Risk Specialist at EthiQal, Dr Bettina Taylor. EthiQal is a division of Constantia Insurance Company Limited, the company at the head of the campaign.

“It is important to acknowledge every doctor’s contribution, be it in private practice or the public healthcare system, and whether they run primary care outpatient clinics or perform intricate surgeries,” said Dr Taylor.

The Doctors’ Day campaign aims to create awareness around the need to protect and appreciate South African doctors, and to assure them that their contributions are recognised and valued. But it’s also to encourage insurers and other parties to come up with solutions that will aid doctors and doctors-in-training in overcoming industry challenges.

“It’s no secret that the circumstances under which doctors in South Africa work can at best be described as not ideal, and it’s made worse by the disease burden in the country,“ said Divisional Head of Health at Constantia Insurance Company Limited, Dr David Green.

Dr Taylor added that the complexities of setting up and running a successful private practice are daunting. Challenges include an uncertain and ever-changing regulatory environment; complicated and poorly defined third-party payment structures; inefficient medical scheme administration systems; and an increase in professional indemnity fees.

According to CEO of Constantia Insurance Company Limited, Volker von Widdern, it’s vital that South Africa retains healthcare professionals, especially as the country is in the process of transforming its healthcare system.

“We already have a shortage of medical professionals and can’t afford to lose our doctors to other professions or countries. Our doctors are a national asset and must be protected,” said von Widdern.

Healthcare consumers are encouraged to visit doctorsday.co.za to share their stories of how a doctor has positively impacted their lives. There are five prizes of R2,000 each for the five best hero-doctor stories.

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