‘We know about problems’ – health dept

2012-05-24 07:53

The department of health has dismissed claims by DA health spokesperson Patricia Kopane that the healthcare system was on the verge of collapsing, saying that it was “fully aware of the many problems facing our hospitals”.

Kopane this week called on Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi to explain the state of healthcare in Limpopo and the Eastern Cape to Parliament.

The call followed hot on the heels of her recent unannounced visit to healthcare facilities in these provinces.

Kopane described what she had found in public clinics and hospital in Limpopo and the Eastern Cape as a “poorly run healthcare system that was on the verge of collapsing”.

In a report, Kopane said hospitals in Limpopo had run out of essential drugs, gloves, stitching materials, hand sanitisers and food.

“Doctors and nurses are reportedly buying supplies like gloves, swabs and protective clothing from their own pockets,” she said.

She reported that in the Eastern Cape a moratorium on the appointment of new doctors was putting unsustainable pressure on health practitioners, with doctors reportedly having to see hundreds of patients a day.

However, Hadebe said there was nothing new in what she had found. “We are fully aware of the many problems facing our hospitals.

“It is for this reason that we started an audit process last year already covering every facility in our country and out of the 4 000 facilities or so we are close to covering 100%. The audit process made it clear to us that a lot of wrong things are happening and we are working with provinces to improve the situation,” Hadebe said.

He said he could not comment on whether the minister would heed Kopane’s call, but said: “the situation will change once the Office of Health Standards Compliance has been established.”

The office would ensure that the six core standards of quality healthcare were met in every facility.

These included cleanliness, improvement of staff attitude, reduction of waiting times and queues, adherence to infection control, preventing drug stock out and ensuring patients’ safety.

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