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 EASTER CAPE HEALTH SYSTEM ON BRINK OF COLLAPSE

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PosOnderwerp: EASTER CAPE HEALTH SYSTEM ON BRINK OF COLLAPSE   Mon Jun 07, 2010 3:25 pm

YEA...THAT'S THE ANC-WAY OF RU(I)NING THE COUNTRY......INTO THE ABYSS WHILST THE FAT PIGS ARE SITTING IN POUND-SEATS- BUSY SCRAPING THE 2010 SOCCER CREAM FROM THE TOP WHILST THE REST OF THE COUNTRY ARE DYING A SLOW DEATH.

Health in ECape ‘close to collapse’
2010/06/07


FEARS are growing that without urgent national intervention the Eastern Cape Health Department – plagued for years by ongoing financial crises – will collapse completely in just four months.

Just this year the department has gone broke after paying R1.8- billion in back pay, more than a thousand health workers in the province have been left without pay for months due to the failure by the beleaguered department to pay wages, and small-town hospitals have been crippled by massive budget cuts – some left with just enough to survive a few months.

Another shock came late last month when it was revealed 200 premature babies died between January and May at the Mthatha Hospital Complex – reportedly due to staff negligence and faulty hospital equipment in neonatal wards.

This week the financial problems resulted in Maclear Hospital running out of food.

“I don’t know how they (the department) sleep at night, knowing that babies are dying and that there could soon be patients who would have to go without medicine and basic care due to their financial problems,” said DA spokesman for health Pine Pienaar.

He said he believed the department only had about four to five months left to “survive” unless there was “major intervention”.

The department, however, is adamant there is no mismanagement and that negative reports are “political propaganda”.

Concerns have grown to such an extent that a motion was tabled recently requesting the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, to investigate the dire financial situation in the department and commit to assisting it with debt alleviation to prevent a complete collapse.

Member of the National Council of Provinces Elza van Lingen (DA) tabled the motion and said she believed it was time the provincial department was handed over to national government to sort out the crisis before handing it back to the Eastern Cape.

“A certain amount of this vast debt load can be attributed to over- expenditure over many years and debt rolling over from one year to another. The minister, in reply to a question last year, clearly stated this practice was not allowed.

“The department has also fallen behind in previous financial years with Occupational Specific Dispensation (OSD) and Human Resource Translation of Posts (HRTOP) payments to medical professionals. Some of these date back to even before 1994,” said Van Lingen.

She added the image of the department was almost synonymous with “poor management, poor payment to staff and poor financial management”. “We need to turn this department around and we need the minister to intervene.”

She said the national department “promised to take over the responsibility of the R1.6-billion debt on behalf of the department. This has to happen immediately”.

Pienaar said the situation had been aggravated by the 2010/11 budget. “This budget has no integrity. It portrays disrespect to the most vulnerable people of this province who depend on state health services.”

He explained the budget allocated was “obviously not enough to run the department for this financial year”. R13.34-billion was budgeted for the year, but “what you see is not what you get”, he said.

“About R994-million is carried over accruals in unpaid accounts, therefore one has to deduct R1-billion from the budget. On top of that R169-million was paid to OSD and a further R380-million to HRTOP.

“With this in mind, it equates to R549-million which was not budgeted for. On top of that the department’s bank overdraft stands on R468-million and the grim reality is that the entire budget has now shrunk to R11.3-billion.

“Something has got to give – somewhere, someone is going to be short-changed. Somewhere, someone is going to die because we don’t have enough money and we are not spending the money wisely.”

Department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo insisted negative views of the department were “political propaganda” and that there was no mismanagement within the department. “We were the ones who came forward and said we had problems and would immediately implement measures to deal with them,” said Kupelo.


http://www.theherald.co.za/article.aspx?id=570747
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