The doctors involved in Thumela wanted to find out what our colleagues’ opinions are regarding the proposed new Commuted Overtime policy in order to assist with providing a united and informed response. One of our directors was going to a SAMA meeting and wanted to have some idea the concerns so this survey was quickly designed and conducted.
Below are your responses in summary form. We received a total of 367 responses after sending out links on Facebook.
Some of the recurring themes of responses have been highlighted in each of the sections. We are busy collating the individual responses and will be able to give a more detailed breakdown including responses according to the various doctor categories and so on.
COMMUTED OVERTIME POLICY QUESTIONNAIRE
Themes: Many reported working more than the hours you get paid for and working more than others. Being able to plan for your monthly income also came up regularly. A number of both juniors and seniors acknowledged that consultants need to be retained in the state sector through a decent package which includes overtime.
We included a copy of the new COT policy for responders to read.
Over a third of responders reported that they would definitely leave the state sector if the policy went forward as is.
Themes of reasons to disagree:
Most disagreements stemmed from the use of the “first 40 hours” concept, and issues related to early calls in the week and hours after 4pm therefore being “normal”, as well as working more than 40 hours as normal work hours
How do you feel time spent on-site during an off-site call should be calculated?
There were many different opinions given, themes included: quoting legislature that stipulates we should be paid 1.5-2 times our hourly rate, others said left as is, some said at least 50% of overtime while others 100% of overtime, some mentioned specifics regarding off-site payments as including travel time, others said needed to be given in longer time periods due to the disruption and inability to sleep afterwards.
What do you think defines ‘performing actual patient related clinical services at the workplace’?
Complaints about this being too vague was a serious concern that came up regularly. In addition to the usual activities listed, many also specified that advice, training and administrative tasks also should be considered
Please provide suggestions on how overtime should be paid
Themes: fixed monthly overtime for everyone, basic salaries were brought up again here, many suggested it should remain in the same format as currently, others brought up that the overtime needed to reflect legislature
Further overall comments from questionnaire responders:
Doctors need to be appreciated
Should be consulted before policy changes such as this
Doctors need to unite
Salaries and overtime need to increase, not decrease
Whole salary needs to be looked at including basic
Issues re some individuals abusing the system
Comments from Thumela
Thank you for participating in the survey, it helps to give us a more informed and balanced response to the communication channels with our unions like SAMA and the DoH itself.
As one can see, there are a number of varied opinions on various aspects of the policy which require further interrogation and analysis.
From our perspective, it is good to see doctors taking an interest in understanding policy and the systems in which we find ourself. As Thumela, we are passionate about trying to do our bit to help improve the system and hope that we can use this information to help advance our cause as doctors.
This survey was designed and distributed by Thumela.
We do acknowledge that there are areas where the questionnaire could have been improved had we had more time to design and do extensive background research. Owing to the short-notice of the SAMA meeting and our need to design the survey quickly, we hope that this managed to be the starting point of some discussions and research so that we can come up with the best possible solution and policy that works for both the doctors and for the DoH, but most importantly the patients.
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