Health department personnel shortages remain critical despite filling of 1 800 posts

There are more than 7 000 vacancies in the Department of Health of which almost 3 000 of are for the much-needed nursing personnel. The DA welcomes the R300-million set aside to fill 1 800 vacancies within the department, as reported in the media last week.  However, we remain concerned by the high number of vacant clinical and non-clinical posts.

Staff shortages in hospitals and clinics will continue to cripple our health care system and thousands of poor patients will continue to bear the brunt of an uncaring government. This is also a failed opportunity by the department to address the issue of unemployed professional nurses in the province. This results in some already overworked staff performing double duties which is a contributory factor to medico-legal claims.

According to a reply my recent parliamentary question to the MEC for Health, Dr Phumza Dyantyi, the department has been using the same unfunded organogram since 2007. For the reply, click here:  Reply to IQP 48 Q 311 Health vacancies

The department must immediately revise and finalise its newly proposed organogram and recruitment plan, cut down the size of its administration and make room for more frontline services staff.

The DA favours a leaner head office as it presents an opportunity for the government to allocate funds where they are most needed.

The R156-million that the department allocated for recruitment in this financial year (2017/18) failed to address the backlog in staff shortages.

We trust that this recruitment-attempt by the department will positively address the issue of medico-legal claims, which are bleeding the department dry. However, the DA believes if the department is to provide the best possible care to the people of this province, it has to do more than the bare minimum.

We cannot continue in this repetitive cycle where critical posts remain unfilled year-in and year-out. The MEC of Health must finalise and allocate funds for the proposed organogram to improve public health care in the province.

The DA will continue the to fight for a well-run and sufficiently resourced Department of Health which prioritises the provision of the best possible care and services to its people. — Celeste Barker MPL, Shadow MEC for Health