Health MEC must intervene in Rob Ferreira Hospital crisis

James Masango MPL

Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition

The DA is deeply disturbed by media reports on Friday over the state of affairs at the Rob Ferreira Hospital in Nelspruit, and calls on Mpumalanga health MEC Dr Clifford Mkasi to urgently recruit additional health professionals and improve existing infrastructure.

According to the report, patients in the casualty department have had to endure hours of pain and discomfort, as too few doctors and nurses worked tirelessly to provide treatment. Their task was made much more difficult as they had to cope with malfunctioning equipment and a shortage of crucial medicines, and some patients had to be referred to Sabie and Themba hospitals to make up for this. This while the hospital has insufficient beds for all admissions, forcing patients to remain in Casualty for hours until beds become available.

Mpumalanga’s health system is in crisis, and MEC Mkasi and the provincial government need to treat it as such. Last week, during the sod-turning ceremony of the Kiaat Private Hospital outside Nelspruit, the MEC said that only 18% of all doctors’ vacancies had been filled, and that only 56% of all nurses’ vacancies had been filled.

And yet, while virtually 90% of the province’s people rely on the government to provide health care, MEC Mkasi and his colleagues in the executive council authorise the slashing of over 25 000 available posts from the health department as a cost saving exercise.

The DA will once again write to MEC Mkasi calling on him to heed the oath he took as medical doctor and to dedicate his time and influence to improve health care to the people of the province. We will also urge him to be bold and resort to national health minister Aaron Motsoaledi and ask for intervention.

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