A case study of private-public sector labour market mobilities of South African medical laboratory specialists.
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This thesis examines the labour market for medical laboratory specialists, specifically anatomical pathologists and haematologists in KwaZulu-Natal. It aimed to establish the extent of mobility of pathologists from the public to the private sector and vice versa. This study also aimed to investigate the reasons for such movement and importantly, the effects of this mobility. Lee’s (1966) push-pull theory of migration was assessed in terms of its applicability to mobility in the local context and is extended and adapted to this context. The five key research questions on which this thesis is based are: What is the nature of labour markets for medical laboratory specialists in KwaZulu-Natal? What is the extent of the mobility of medical laboratory specialists from the public sector to the private sector and vice versa in KwaZulu-Natal? What are the causes of such mobility between public and private sectors in KwaZulu-Natal? What are the effects or implications of the movement of medical laboratory specialists in KwaZulu-Natal? Lastly, to what extent can Lee’s (1966) push-pull theory of migration be adapted to account for the mobility of anatomical pathologists and haematologists between the public and private sectors in KwaZulu-Natal? This study adopted a case study design that used a purposive sampling strategy. There were 23 participants involved in the study. Of the 23 participants selected, 11 were anatomical pathologists and nine were haematologists. The remaining three participants were a microbiologist, a migration specialist and an international anatomical pathologist. Key findings indicated that mobility between the public and private sectors does occur. The labour market for medical laboratory specialists displayed 23 anatomical pathologists and 11 haematologists in KwaZulu-Natal. Financial reasons were not the only reasons that pathologists switched sectors; rather the decision rested on several other non-economic factors such as the working environment, flexibility and even management styles. The effects of mobility include delays in diagnosis and patient care as well as increased stress levels and workloads of specialists. Certain push-pull factors of Lee’s (1966) push-pull theory were found to apply to the local context of this study.