Home News Doctors, hospital workers picket over ’dire’ shortage of staff

Doctors, hospital workers picket over ’dire’ shortage of staff

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Doctors and general staff at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital held up placards indicating that they are overworked, burnt out and frustrated.

Hospital staff at the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital held a picket outside the medical unit on Wednesday, demanding more staff be employed at the facility. Picture: Soraya Crowie

MEDICAL and hospital staff picketed outside Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital (RMSH) in Kimberley on Wednesday to protest over the dire shortage of staff.

Doctors and general staff held up placards indicating that they were overworked, burnt out and frustrated as they were unable to assist their patients.

Organised labour, including Hospersa, Denosa, Nehawu and the PSA, stated that RMSH was unable to function properly due to a lack of staff.

The acting head of the Northern Cape Department of Health, Riaan Strydom, explained that due to budget cuts amounting to billions of rand the department was not able to appoint more staff.

“We could have appointed 1,800 nurses in the Province with the money that was cut from the budget. The Covid-19 pandemic also depleted the finances. The budget cuts of around R1 billion last year and R1 billion this year forced us to revisit services and appointments. According to reports, we will only receive full budgets in the 2024/25 financial year,” said Strydom.

He indicated that it was not only the Department of Health that was affected.

“We have not been able to process appointments as we were not able to register employees on the Persal system, in order for them to receive salaries, because of the financial situation.”

Strydom stated that for the first time in nine years they had managed to appoint district managers and CEOs.

He added that they were engaging with other departments to assist.

“We managed to avert further budget cuts in November following talks with the MEC, the premier and the national Department of Health. These funds will be used to address staff shortages and appoint community service staff, balance patient to doctor ratios and upgrade equipment.”

Strydom added that they would rectify the payment of ghost workers and employees who were receiving salary overpayments.

“Medico-legal expenses decreased from R1.8 billion to R1.1 billion, where these savings can be directed towards staffing and resources.”

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