Health Professionals

Frequently asked questions

Can I bring my partner/spouse who is not a health professional? 
Yes. When you apply for your work permit, he or she will need to apply for a year’s holiday visa. Ifyou are both accommodated by the hospital, approval will need to be confirmed with the hospital.

Can I bring my whole family and can provision be made for my children of school-going age? 
Yes. Your partner/spouse and children will require a year’s holiday visa. If you plan on your children attending school, they will require a scholar’s visa. Please confirm the details with your local South African embassy.

Will you be able to find a job for my partner/spouse who is not a health professional? 
Your partner or spouse can do volunteer work. In order to do so, he or she is required to get a volunteer permit.

Do we receive any orientation? 
Yes. AHP will take you through a formal orientation programme to aid you in your cultural, logistical and clinical transition. We encourage the receiving hospital to take you through their ownorientation programme. However, we are not able to enforce this.

Can I bring my pets? 
Certain hospitals allow pets. You will need to obtain approval from the hospital. Please arrangethe transfer with a specialist service provider, such as:

• Global paws: http://www.globalpaws.co.za/imports.htm
• Animal travel: http://animaltravel.co.za

Do I need to sit examinations to work in South Africa? 
All applications received go through the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) board for approval, and the board makes the determination on whether the candidate meets the requirements, or whether they need to sit a supplementary exam. 

Do I need a visa to work in South Africa? 
If you are not a South African citizen, you will require a work permit. After approval from the FWMPto work in South Africa, a written job offer from your healthcare facility and your HPCSA approval,you can apply for a work permit at your South African embassy and complete the relevant paperwork.It is also important to confirm the correct documents with your embassy as the requirementsdiffer from country to country. We will assist and advise you as far as possible through this process.

Will I receive accommodation; will it be furnished or unfurnished?
Some healthcare facilities have accommodation on the premises; this is usually fully furnished. Thistype of accommodation costs, on average, a minimum of R500 per month. Other hospitals, usually those in larger towns, will not have this accommodation; you will be required to secure your own accommodation and transport to and from the hospital. It is common practice for the hospital to pay for you to stay at a bed and breakfast for at least a month while you are finalising your accommodation.

Will I be able to continue with my studies and professional development in South Africa?
Yes. There are a number of online and distance learning courses available through various academic institutions. The Foundation for Professional Development (FPD) specialises in medical professionals’continued professional development. They also offer a number of clinical courses and workshops run throughout the year with topics ranging from HIV/Aids to TB. For a full list of available courses, requirements and costs for each course, please contact FPD directly

Are the relocation expenses covered? 
AHP does not cover costs for any part of the process.

Do I need to purchase a car in South Africa? 
While this is optional, we highly recommend that you do. The public transport available, especiallyin the rural areas, can be quite limited: this could result in quite restricted travel during your stayin South Africa. Some of the areas present rough terrain, you may need to purchase a 4x4 forsuch areas. Please note that, as a non-South AAfrica national, you will be required to pay for car rental andpurchase up-front. Upon your arrival, we suggest you join the South African Medical Association(SAMA). SAMA operates as a trade union and has associations with various organisations that providedoctors with discounted rates. To get you started on your search, you may want to try:http://www.autotrader.co.za or http://www.carfind.co.za

Can you send me vacancies that are currently available? 
Our regional staff is available to discuss the various opportunities as AHP staff regularly visits these healthcare facilities to obtain detailed information on all relevant aspects such as accommodation and transport. AHP staff will assist you in your placement decision, taking into account and trying to match as far as possible, your personal preferences. We pride ourselves in our success to date with the placement of more than 2 100 healthcare professionals.

What are the working conditions like? 
Each hospital is different; most rural hospitals are well equipped but generally understaffed. Will I work under supervision? If this is what you would like then we can place you in a hospital where there is a team of doctors who will provide you with the necessary support. Due to personnel limitations, you may at times be required to work unsupervised and take charge of departments or responsibilities.

Do I need to learn the local language? 
It will be useful to make an effort to learn the basics of the local language. While useful, this is not critical as you will be assisted with translation from the nursing and support staff. This communication procedure will take a bit of effort to become used to, but all official documentation and correspondenceare done in English.

Is malpractice insurance covered?
All employees of public hospitals are covered for malpractice. The risk of litigation is very low in the hospitals you will be working in. If you feel you would like to obtain insurance in this regard, AHP can assist you, although you may also investigate if the existing malpractice insurance in your country will cover you while you are working in South Africa.

What remuneration can I expect?
The position that you may qualify for will largely depend on your level of experience, additional relevant courses, ability and skills. These will work in your favour and contribute to the salary youcould expect.

Will I receive a rural health allowance?
Doctors at most rural hospitals qualify for the rural health allowance. This allowance is paid to attract practitioners to rural facilities and generally provides an 18-22% top-up to your basic salary.There are specific guidelines covering these allowances and not all facilities qualify, especially those hospitals located near or in a larger town. If you intend to work at a hospital close to or in a large rtown, AHP will provide specific details applicable to the positions available at the time of your application.

Can I get the job of a specialist and what is the salary level?
If you are registered as a specialist in your country, we can apply for specialist registration with the HPCSA. The HPCSA only recognises the specialist qualifications from certain countries. Salary levels are based on the level and type of experience.

How is the leave structured?
The South African government employment contracts make provision for 22 days paid vacation leave per calendar year, as well as five days paid family responsibility leave. Sick leave is 36 days within a three-year cycle.

What is there to do after hours?
South Africa has an abundance of tourist destinations, such as game reserves, beaches, mountains and outdoor adventure opportunities, to mention a few.

South African Department of Tourism: http://www.tourism.gov.za/
South Africa Portal: http://www.southafrica.info/
North West Province Tourism: http://www.tourismnorthwest.co.za/
Limpopo Province Tourism: http://www.golimpopo.com/
Free State Touism: http://www.freestatetourism.org/
Eastern Cape Tourism: http://www.ectourism.co.za/
Mpumalanga Tourism: http://www.mpumalanga.com
KwaZulu-Natal Tourism: http://www.zulu.org.za/
Gauteng Tourism: http://www.gauteng.net/
Northern Cape Tourism: http://www.northerncape.org.za/
Western Cape Tourism: http://www.tourismcapetown.co.za

Most of our placements are in rural areas as we are advocates for rural hospitals. However, if youspecifically request to be placed in an urban area, we will try and assist you where we can in thisregard.

If I spend one or two years working abroad, will this be a disadvantage when I return to my home country and apply for a training programme, either in a specialty or in general practice?
It is difficult to predict how the appointment process will work in future years; however, a number of experts on the UK environment have been consulted on this point and the consensus is that a period of time abroad will give candidates an advantage when applying for training posts – provided they can show that they have had good supervision and they have kept a record, for example a logbook and reflective practice notes, of the ways in which they have benefited from their experience.

If I am already in a training programme, can I take time out to work abroad?
Yes. The best time to do this varies according to your specialty and career aims. Whether or not you can count overseas experience towards your total training time will depend on various factors, such as the nature of the overseas post. You should get advice from your educational supervisor or post-graduate dean.

Where do I get my transcripts of training?
No person other than the applicant can attempt to obtain an academic transcript on the applicant’s behalf. You apply for these from the university where you completed your medical degree/training.

What sort of work experience will I get?
As a generalist you can work in a level 1 or district hospital, located in a rural or peripheral area. Ifyou wish to work as a specialist or in a specific speciality discipline then you can work in a level 2 or regional hospital. Medical officers in district hospitals are expected to provide basic care to the emergency department, outpatient clinics, inpatients as well as visit satellite clinics. Surgical procedures will depend on the skill of the medical officer, but covers a broad spectrum. The services required in the outlying clinics are that of a general practitioner.

Where must I send all my documents?
You may send all documentation to the relevant AHP office:
Durban office: candidates going to Kwazulu Natal and Eastern Cape.
Johannesburg office: candidates going to Limpopo, Northwest and Mpumalanga Provinces.
Swaziland office: candidates going to Swaziland
Lesotho office: candidates going to Lesotho.

Why deposit the payment for the HPCSA into RHI (Rural Health Initiative) account?
RHI is a founding partner of AHP, and is the legal entity through which our accounts are managed. The HPCSA require a registration fee and a pro rata annual fee before they will process your registration. Our experience to date has shown that if these specific payments are deposited into our account and then we make a payment on your behalf to the HPCSA, the incidencesof lost payments, wrong allocations, etc. are minimised and the registration process is completed in less time. Operating in this fashion ensures nothing is misplaced or  untraceable!