Work satisfaction and retention strategies of medical doctors in the South African public health sector
Tokosi, Oluwagbemiga Oladele
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One of the fundamental problems facing the South African public healthcare sector is motivation and retention of the healthcare practitioners. Medical doctors in particular, tend to leave the public sector for the private sector, rural settlements for the urban settlements, the Republic of South Africa for other countries or entirely leaving the healthcare industry. This study seeks to identify the factors that contribute to work satisfaction or dissatisfaction of doctors in the South African public health sector as well as bringing forth strategies that are important in retaining medical doctors in the sector. A cross-sectional survey using self-administered pre-tested questionnaires was mailed to 1000 randomly selected medical doctors in the public health sector of South Africa to get their opinions. Appropriate statistical tools were then used to interpret the findings. A total of 135 medical doctors participated in this study. The medical doctors identified lack of participation in management as the major factor hampering work satisfaction in the public sector. Pay and workload were also identified as the other leading factors to doctors’ dissatisfaction. Significant relationships with patients were found as motivators to doctors’ satisfaction. On retaining medical doctors, the respondents indicated a great need for improvement on the current working conditions and such improvements including the recognition of doctors in the workplace as well as their promotion.Discrimination and inadequate remuneration were leading factors for doctors not willing to be retained in the public sector Medical doctors are essential to the efficient delivery of health care in South Africa and an unending conflict between them and their management imposes a great risk to the future of the South African health care. It is therefore imperative for healthcare managers to address those factors that are appearing to be obstacles to job satisfaction and at the same time capitalizing on the identified retention factors in their management strategies.