National 20.8.2016 12:54 pm

Almost R7-million underspent on Helen Joseph equipment

Shadow Gauteng Health MEC Jack Bloom says patients suffer when there is a lack of vital equipment, but the department said patient care was not at all compromised. Picture: Northcliff Melville Times.

Shadow Gauteng Health MEC Jack Bloom says patients suffer when there is a lack of vital equipment, but the department said patient care was not at all compromised. Picture: Northcliff Melville Times.

The health department’s spokesperson Steve Mabona assured that patient care was not at all compromised.

Helen Joseph Hospital is one of the hospitals in Gauteng that underspent by almost R7-million on budgeted equipment in the last financial year, reports the Northcliff Melville Times.

This was revealed after Gauteng Health Shadow MEC Jack Bloom submitted questions to Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in the Gauteng Legislature.

“Gauteng public hospitals failed to spend R59-million out of R480-million that was budgeted for equipment last [financial] year,” Bloom said.

He believes the underspending and the diversion of funds for other goods and services show poor management and budgeting and that patients suffer when there is a shortage of vital equipment.

Helen Joseph Hospital specifically did not spend almost R7 million of the over R33 million budgeted for minor assets and “other machinery and equipment” in the financial year ending 31 March.

In her written response, Mahlangu said the department was faced with cash-flow challenges and that “the non-negotiable items which are mainly within the goods and services items were prioritised”.

The department’s spokesperson Steve Mabona assured that patient care was not at all compromised.

“We have set up a medical equipment committee to review the medical equipment needs per institution. The team will identify machines to be replaced [and] new procurement and maintenance of equipment. This will inform the budget requirements over the medium term expenditure frame period,” he said.

Bloom said he hopes the committee will ensure and adequate budget for hospital equipment and that it is fully spent.

Caxton News Service

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