Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Health Spokesman

I welcome the proposal to give autonomy to the four academic hospitals in Gauteng.

I commend Mr Sipho Makama, chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, for making this proposal following the damning Auditor General’s report on the Gauteng Health Department that shows more than R6.6 billion in losses in the 2011/12 financial year.

Hospital CEOs need to be fully empowered to do their jobs, but also held accountable for quality outcomes. They should be able to make all staff appointments and issue tenders.

Hospitals should also do all maintenance work themselves, instead of the Infrastructure Development Department, as this has led to many delays and under-spending in the past in this area.

It is too difficult running a hospital within civil service regulations, so they should become autonomous and become a body like the South African Revenue Service which Pravin Gordhan turned around so successfully. Hospitals need flexibility in order to run efficiently and effectively without excessive bureaucracy and red tape.

There should be local rather than centralised bargaining with unions. This means that hospitals will be unaffected by national civil service strikes.

Strong hospital boards would also ensure efficiency and accountability so that patients get the best care within available resources.

I hope that the Gauteng Health Department acts soon on Makama’s proposal.

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