Since Friday last week, people declared dead at accident scenes in the Butterworth district and in the Buffalo City Metro have simply been left on the side of the road for hours, because Forensic Pathology employees are on strike over unpaid overtime and standby allowances.
According to the striking workers, the overtime and standby allowances have not been paid since the April this year, despite promises made by the Head of Department, Dr Mbengashe.
The Department of Health has been forced to negotiate with private funeral parlours to collect the deceased from accident scenes while the strike continues, resulting in significant delays in retrieving the decaying corpses.
That the dignity of individuals who have tragically lost their lives, and the suffering of their families, have become a bargaining chip in a wage dispute is beyond reprehensible.
This is a sign of a declining healthcare system that has lost sight of its core mandate of providing access to healthcare to the people of this province. Instead we have a system of blatant mismanagement that has resulted in spiralling medico-legal claims, mismanagement of personnel, mismanagement of finances and employment of incompetent cadres.
This has resulted in a Department that is incapable of righting itself.
I have written to the MEC for Health, Sindiswa Gomba, to request that the matter of unpaid overtime be addressed as a matter of urgency so that Forensic Pathology services are restored before more of the taxpayer’s money is wasted.
Where the Democratic Alliance governs, all spheres within the Health Department are functional and the delivery of excellent health care services is a matter of pride.
Services which support the delivery of healthcare are respected and treated with the dignity they deserve.
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