By Dr. Tutu Faleni (MPL), DA, North West Spokesperson on Health:
The Democratic Alliance in the North West is concerned that Premier Supra Mahumapelo is misleading the people of the province.
The assertion made by the Premier at SOPA that health care facilities in the province should be open for 24 hours is ambiguous and not pragmatic.
The Premier should publicly withdraw his policy assertion.
The Health Department has, over many years, been underfunded and has been trying to operate despite severe budget cuts.
The department, which is currently under administration, will need additional funding if the Premier wants clinics to operate on a 24-hour basis.
The deteriorating infrastructure of hospitals, clinics and community health care centres are such that more funding should be given to the Health Department to improve the physical infrastructure to improve the speed of service delivery of health services
Information that was collected from the oversight visits by the Democratic Alliance indicates a dire situation with regard to lack of personnel, especially skilled people like nurses and doctors.
I call on Health MEC, Dr Magome Masike, to develop a strategy that will attract and retain skilled medical personnel to the province – especially for small towns and villages.
There is currently no comprehensive departmental strategy in place to draw and maintain medical personnel, specifically doctors to the province. Operating on a 24-hour basis will overload the already overburdened medical doctors we have.
Even more worrying is the serious lack of emergency vehicles in rural areas. The Premier’s solution for this was to engage taxi’s to transport people to the health centres. This has not happened.
In view of the above mentioned considerations, I will today write to Premier Mahumapelo and request him to withdraw the undertaking he made at SOPA.