The Department of Health has yet to fill 2 000 of the 5 000 vacancies that occurred as at the end of December 2016. This is clearly an attempt by the department to offset its current financial crisis whereby the accruals have to be funded.
The failure to yet employ 2 000 health workers will place a heavy burden on the already overworked staff, compromise service delivery, increase medico-legal claims and other lawsuits.
When I raised this issue in the legislature during the budget debate last week, it was not refuted by anyone.
We fear that our already overworked staff and under-equipped clinics and hospitals will be placed under massive stress in an effort to maintain service delivery and care for the elderly, the ill, infants, expectant mothers and the many unfortunate victims of crime who fill our hospital beds.
We believe that the department should have played open cards with the legislature and the portfolio committee on health as soon as it saw the writing on the wall. Robbing Peter to pay Paul is going to result in a chaotic set of circumstances as well as violating the rights of patients. For example, currently, certain psychiatric drugs are not available.
It is tragic that the delivery of health services will be restricted during winter.
The DA will fight ceaselessly for access to health services for all our people and we will provide the public with feedback as regularly as we receive it. — Celeste Barker MPL, shadow MEC for Health