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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

versão On-line ISSN 2078-5135
versão impressa ISSN 0256-9574

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ALLORTO, N L; ZOEPKE, S; CLARKE, D L  e  RODE, H. Burn surgeons in South Africa: A rare species. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2016, vol.106, n.2, pp.186-191. ISSN 2078-5135.  http://dx.doi.org/10.7196/SAMJ.2016.V106I2.9954.

BACKGROUND: The high burden of burn injuries in South Africa (SA) requires surgeons skilled in burn care. However, there are few dedicated burn surgeons and properly equipped units or centres. OBJECTIVES: To quantify the involvement of surgeons in burn care in SA hospitals, identify factors that attract surgeons to pursue burn care as a career and deter them from doing so, and understand the challenges of hospitals treating burn patients around the country. METHODS: This was a prospective, qualitative study. Questionnaires were handed out at the South African Burn Society Congress in September 2013 and a trade symposium in March 2014. RESULTS: One hundred questionnaires were handed out, and there was a 70% response rate. Twenty-six (39%) of the respondents had a specialist surgical qualification. Only half the units had registrars (48%) and interns (51%) on their staff. Only 30% of the respondents were dedicated to burn care alone, the majority being involved on a part-time basis. The most common factor respondents suggested was needed to recruit future burn care providers, cited by 76%, was better facilities and resources. Other factors included training and skills development (59%), subspecialist training (55%), development of a diploma in burn care (52%), development of research (52%) and healthcare worker psychological support (45%). CONCLUSION: We have demonstrated that current workforce resources for burn care are inadequate, the major deficit being lack of training and the resource-restricted environment. This survey provides basic information towards workforce planning, which can be used to inform the necessary strategic decisions.

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