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No crisis at Health dept, says MEC

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Makatong visited each district where she had identified “serious derelict” with regards to service delivery

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WHILE admitting that there are cash flow problems at the Northern Cape Department of Health, the MEC for Health, Fufe Makatong (pictured), has maintained that there “is no crisis”.

AfriForum will meanwhile be laying criminal charges against the HOD for the provincial Department of Health today as part of its national campaign against the misappropriation of taxpayers’ money to the tune of R636 million.

Makatong explained that the department had to find creative ways of ensuring that it received value for its money in light of the budgetary challenges.

“We are managing – there is no crisis.

“We have identified opportunities where we can save. For example, we will make use of the EPWP programme instead of going out on tender for the cleaning of the Frances Baard district offices and the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital. We will be conducting a skills audit and restructure the organogram before the end of the financial year. We have reduced the vacancy rate to 8.1 percent.”

Makatong added that she had visited each district where she had identified “serious derelict” with regards to service delivery.

“I wrote to the HOD for Health, with no luck.

“In many instances I detected some deficiencies in relation to service delivery, which I have escalated to the Office of the Premier and the national Minister of Health to highlight the seriousness of the matters.”

Makatong attributed the long queues of patients at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital to the fact that many patients had “referred themselves”.

“Emergency cases are prioritised and preference is given to patients who have been referred by primary health care facilities. Patients in need of secondary and tertiary care are being transported by aero-medical ambulance or private ambulance if there is a shortage of vehicles.”

She explained that 10 out of 19 ambulances were put back on the road after engaging with the Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison to renew the expired discs.

Makatong said they intended utilising the West End Hospital for offices for the Frances Baard district administration as well as the storage of decommissioned ambulances, once patients were transferred to the new mental health hospital.

“We want to avoid paying rentals and leases when we have office space.”

She indicated that she had filled more than 300 vacancies in the department, including medical doctors, throughout the Province.

“The Dr Harry Surtie Hospital in Upington has the best capacity when it comes to medical officers. We many need to relook how to manage them if patients are complaining that they do not have access to doctors.”