Gauteng Health fails to spend R281 Million on Hospital Equipment

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC

The Gauteng Health Department failed to spend R281 million budgeted for hospital equipment in the 2013/14 financial year.

This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to the figures given by Mahlangu, only R218 million out of a total equipment budget of R499 million was spent.

I am flabbergasted that less than half (46%) of the equipment budget was spent last year.

The worst underspend was at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital, which only spent R7.7 million out of R73.3 million, returning R65.6 million to the treasury.

The Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital spent only R22.5 million out of its R69.7 million equipment budget and Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital spent only R28.3 million out of R81.9 budgeted for equipment.

Other large underspends were as follows:

George Mukhari Hospital   –                       R35.4 million spent out of R64.9 million

Tembisa Hospital                 –                       R14.6 million spent out of R43 million

Helen Joseph Hospital       –                       R17.1 million spent out of R29 million

Kalafong Hospital                –                       R18.9 million spent out of R33.6 million

According to Mahlangu: “Some of the equipment was procured but not paid for in the current financial year and there were delays in pricing the orders which were made towards the end of the financial year  …The department has set up medical equipment committees to review the medical equipment needs at each institution … (which) … will inform the budget requirements over the MTEF period.”

It is shocking that despite dire equipment shortages at virtually every hospital, the available budget was grossly underspent.

This financial mismanagement leads to staff frustration and poor patient care.

When will the promised improvements actually happen?