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…but MEC for Health ‘left speechless’

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Makatong to announce new date for opening of Kimberley mental health hospital

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THE MEC for Health, Fufe Makatong, will appoint a new interim chief executive officer (CEO) at the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital after patients spent the night on the floor last week.

The acting CEO, Richard Jones, has been occupying this position since 2016.

Makatong expressed her heartfelt apology to the patients who were left waiting for several hours to receive medical treatment.

She said that she was “left speechless at the violation of patients’ constitutional rights”, only 25 days after her visit to the hospital to address management on ways to reduce long waiting times in congested queues at the casualty section.

The spokesperson for the MEC for Health, Lebogang Majaha, said the Ministry for Health “did not wish to dwell” on the statement that was released on social media by the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital on the weekend.

He indicated that the MEC had since engaged with the head of administration where she expressed her disappointment in the lack of management.

“The MEC distances herself from any attempt to justify such a gruesome act under her stewardship. Both the MEC and head of department agreed on a rescue plan to overhaul the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital management.

“The rescue plan to stabilise the hospital and the appointment of an interim CEO will be discussed with the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital board on Tuesday (today).”

He added that the process would unfold to recruit a permanent CEO at the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital.

“A roving ambulance and patient transporter must be made available to transfer non-emergency patients to the Galeshewe Day Hospital so that the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital can focus on emergency cases.”

Majaha stated that the MEC would convene an extraordinary management meeting to develop the comprehensive district health services plan that is directed at the treatment of stable patients in district hospitals through specialist clinics in the Province.

He indicated that the allocated funding from Provincial Treasury, amounting to R10 million, would be used for the operationalisation of the new Kimberley mental facility while R5 million would be directed towards another five new facilities.

Majaha added that the MEC would also announce a new date for the opening of the new Kimberley mental health hospital. Makatong had previously indicated that the new mental health facility would open its doors by December last year.

“The MEC convened a board meeting to discuss the new mental health hospital today (yesterday),” Majaha said.