Gauteng Health fails more targets

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC

Summary extract of Speech by Jack Bloom MPL in debate today on the Gauteng Health Annual Report

According to the Gauteng Health Department’s 2013/14 Annual Report, only 69 out of 173 targets were achieved, a failure rate of 60%. This is even worse than last year, when 53% of targets were not achieved.

If this is a turn-around, then it is turning in the wrong direction.

Thank goodness there are still things that the department does well, including 100% child vaccinations and 98% of children born to HIV-positive mothers testing free of the virus.

But I question the alleged jump in emergency ambulance response times from 52% of Priority 1 patients responded to within 15 minutes to 76.7%.

All three metros are suspiciously reporting greatly improved response times despite the same shortages of ambulances and personnel as previously. Public complaints about slow ambulances are as common as ever.

Instead of fixing the ambulance service, I believe they are fixing the figures. The Health MEC should institute an investigation into the suspect ambulance response figures given by the three metros.

Financial management is still the weakest link in this department.

According to the Auditor-Generals’ report, R225 million was written off in irrecoverable patient debt.

There is a total accumulated amount of R416.5 million for fruitless and wasteful expenditure, of which R155 million was incurred in the last year due to medico-legal payments arising from hospital negligence.

The MEC should fire her legal counsel who cause the department so much embarrassment by losing court cases and paying settlements only when the Sheriff of the court is about to cart off the office furniture. Their latest failure is paying the recent R6.1 million medical negligence award into the wrong account!

There are lots of other incompetent staff that should be removed.

Other areas of concern include the following:

  • Only 78% of essential medicines are available
  • Cervical cancer screening is down to 41% against the target of 65%
  • 356 000 missing HIV/Aids patients who have been put on ARV treatment but disappeared from the system
  • An increase in the death rate from Caesarean sections in provincial hospitals, up to 5.6% from 3.5% the previous year.
  • The expiration of R4.7 million worth of female condoms because they were not distributed.
  • 48% of suppliers are not paid within 30 days

The root problem of this department is a failure of leadership, both political and administrative.

Two critical positions have yet to be permanently filled – chief financial officer and head of department.

We still do not know why Dr Hugh Gosnell left as head of department. It looks to me like he was purged because he wasn’t a yes man.

This department will never come right until we have unflinchingly honest and competent leadership.