GAUTENG HEALTH CRISIS NEEDS BOTH FUNDS AND EFFICIENCY

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Health Spokesman

I am encouraged by the honesty shown by Gauteng Health MEC Hope Papo this morning in a radio interview where he admitted that there was a crisis in Gauteng hospitals.

In response to my questions today in the Gauteng Legislature, Premier Nomvula Mokonyane was also refreshingly open about the problems and promised “drastic action” in the health sector.

I hope that MEC Papo is successful today in his meeting with National Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and National Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, where he is seeking extra funds for Gauteng health.

It has been estimated that the Gauteng Health Department needs about R4 billion extra every year to provide a proper service.

The problem is that the existing budget has not been spent efficiently or effectively, with huge wastage due to corruption and mismanagement.

Whilst MEC Papo has admitted the problems, some senior officials are still in denial, as when Spokesperson Simon Zwane denied that surgeons had to operate by the light of cellphones during a power cut at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital last week on Friday. It has now been confirmed that a caesarean operation was indeed in progress when the power cut.

Papo needs to replace incompetent officials swiftly and replace them with people who can do the job.

National Treasury will need to be convinced that extra money will be used properly. A computerised health information system is urgently needed in Gauteng so that costs can be stringently managed and wastage eliminated as much as possible.

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