The Gauteng health department is heading for an overspend of R292 million this year on its total budget of R37.7 billion.
This was disclosed by departmental officials on Friday at a meeting of the Gauteng Legislature health committee, which discussed the First Quarter Report that covers the period April to June this year.
Gauteng chief director of budget and revenue Victor Senna said the expected overspend was the result of R1 billion having to be paid out for court-ordered medical negligence payouts, as well as a high number of foreign patients and patients from neighbouring provinces.
The North West province owed R490 million and Limpopo owed R51 million for treating their patients, DA Gauteng shadow health MEC Jack Bloom said in a statement yesterday.
Senna added that the “unfunded mandate” to treat all HIV-positive patients, regardless of CD4 count, was expected to cost R621 million for 250 000 patients, while there was R4 billion in accruals from the previous year, of which only R1.4 billion had been paid.
He said that the department’s cash flow was severely compromised by unbudgeted items, such as the negligence payouts, which was why suppliers were not always paid on time.
“I am concerned about the huge pressure on the health budget, much of it from preventable factors and uncollected debt from neighbouring provinces,” said Bloom.
“Better management will help, but a short-term bailout is necessary in the adjustment budget later this year – particularly to cover the extra costs of ARV treatment for all HIV-positive patients.”