Repository logo

Migration of medical doctors from the public to the private sector: a case study of mahatma Gandhi memorial hospital and life healthcare hospital group, Durban.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



There is a rising inclination for medical doctors to migrate to the private sector from the public sector, thereby leaving a high percentage of the population without quality care. The influx of medical practitioners into the private sector is of utmost concern to both the government and the general public. The South African public healthcare sector is faced with the challenge of retaining health workers in the appropriate area of need. This study aims to identify the factors that are responsible for the migration of medical doctors from the public to the private sector and make recommendations that can foster retention. A total of 115 medical doctors participated in this study. The study used both qualitative and quantitative approaches to ensure a detailed analysis and reach an encircling supposition. They were supported by three research tools: semistructured in-depth interviews, document review, and a survey. Data collected through semistructured in-depth interviews were analysed using the thematic analysis method while content analysis was used to evaluate data collected through documentary method. Data collected via the use of questionnaires was analysed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. The findings from this study revealed that employee relations policy is the key reason why medical doctors seek employment in the private sector. The inability of some doctors to gain employment with the public sector due to the moratorium on employment was also identified as a reason they seek solace in the private sector. The study also established a close link between monetary rewards and non-monetary rewards in influencing retention. The study also reflected that the dissatisfaction of doctors in the public health sectors goes beyond the confinement of wages. In order to foster the retention of doctors in the public sector, various strategies are recommended such as heightened awareness of the significance of effective communication, more employee involvement in decision-making procedures, quick resolution of labour disputes, embracing total reward approach, talent management planning, succession planning, clear alignment of personal values with organisational values and lifting of the moratorium on employment.


Doctoral degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.