Retention of medical officers in the district health services of the Western Cape, South Africa: An exploratory descriptive qualitative study

South African Family Practice

Field Value
Title Retention of medical officers in the district health services of the Western Cape, South Africa: An exploratory descriptive qualitative study
Creator Mash, Robert J. Viljoen, Werner Swartz, Steve Abbas, Mumtaz Wagner, Leigh Steyn, Herma Hendricks, Gavin Stapar, Dusica Williams, Andrew Adeniji, Adeloye Schoevers, Johan Kapp, Paul
Subject — district health services; district hospitals; primary healthcare; primary care; retention; workforce; medical officers; family physicians; staff satisfaction
Description Background: An adequate health workforce is an essential building block of effective health systems. In South Africa, medical officers (MOs) are a key component of service delivery in district health services. The Stellenbosch University Family Physician Research Network in the Western Cape identified that retention of MOs was a key issue. The aim of this study was to explore the factors that influence the retention of MOs in public sector district health services in the Western Cape, South Africa.Methods: This is a descriptive exploratory qualitative study. Medical officers were purposefully selected in terms of districts, facility types, gender, seniority and perceived likelihood of leaving in the next four years. Semi-structured interviews were performed by family physicians, and the qualitative data were analysed using the framework method.Results: Fourteen MOs were interviewed, and four major themes were identified: career intentions; experience of clinical work; experience of the organisation; and personal, family and community issues. Key issues that influenced retention were: ensure that the foundational elements are in place (e.g. adequate salary and good infrastructure), nurture cohesive team dynamics and relationships, have a family physician, continue the shift towards more collaborative and appreciative management styles, create stronger career pathways and opportunities for professional development in the district health services, be open to flexible working hours and overtime, and ensure workload is manageable.Conclusion: A number of important factors influencing retention were identified. Leaders and managers of the healthcare services could intervene across these multiple factors to enhance the conditions needed to retain MOs.
Publisher AOSIS
Date 2022-05-10
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion Peer-reviewed Article —
Format text/html application/epub+zip text/xml application/pdf
Identifier 10.4102/safp.v64i1.5467
Source South African Family Practice; Vol 64, No 1 (2022): Part 2; 13 pages 2078-6204 2078-6190
Language eng
The following web links (URLs) may trigger a file download or direct you to an alternative webpage to gain access to a publication file format of the published article:
Coverage — — —
Rights Copyright (c) 2022 Bob J. Mash