The Democratic Alliance (DA) says stricter measures were needed to hold government accountable for providing adequate healthcare instead of occasional reports by the public service commission.
The DA said this approach added no value in applying pressure on the government to provide a reasonable level of healthcare as envisaged in the constitution.
The party’s spokesperson on infrastructure development and property management in Gauteng Alan Fuchs said the Public Service Commission (PSC) had evaluated and reported on multiple weaknesses, shortcomings and poor health outcomes at five hospitals in the province.
Hospitals evaluated locally were Dr George Mukhari academic and Mamelodi regional.
“The PSC appears happy to just present their report to government, raise issues and do some follow-up from time-to-time. This allows them to tick the box and walk away satisfied that they have met their responsibility,” said Fuchs.
Some of the issues the PSC picked up during visits to the two hospitals in 2015 and 2019, included shortages of clinical and non-clinical staff, overcrowding in casualty wards, high staff turnover and a low rate of replacement due to a lack of funds, too few hospital beds resulting in long waiting times; surgical backlogs and the ill-treatment of patients.
Other issues included inadequate hospital infrastructure, management and administration not functioning optimally, quality assurance and the matters relating to cleanliness and hygiene.
In the PSC report published in March, it said it met with hospital management, major unions at the hospitals and members of the hospital boards and explained its purpose was to promote and create a common understanding instead of finding faults in the functioning of the hospitals.
In a Gauteng provincial legislature health portfolio committee meeting held on Thursday, the provincial health department offered responses to what would be done to resolve the issued uncovered by the PSC’s report.
The department said its programme included a scope of work developed to comply with occupational health and safety requirements at the Mamelodi regional hospital.
It further said tender documents had been prepared, submitted to the bid awards committee, had them approved and in the process of advertisement to address overcrowding in casualty and the hospital’s inadequate infrastructure.
The department said tender documents for occupational health and safety compliance at the Dr George Mukhari hospital had been approved and will be advertised.
Its programme at the hospital included the development of a scope of work for compliance with occupational health and safety requirement.
The department also explained the recent renovations done at the hospital were aimed at addressing Covid-19 and infrastructure challenges amounted to R226 million.
This article first appeared on Rekord and was republished with permission.