Health dept staff unqualified - DA

2010-10-25 14:10
Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance has urged Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi to review the composition of the department's foreign workforce management programme (FWMP).

This was to ensure it was staffed with people with the specialised knowledge of the health profession that this job required, DA spokesperson Mike Waters said on Monday.

A reply to a DA parliamentary question revealed that there was only one member of the FWMP who had a degree in a health-related field, and one member did not even have matric.

"At the moment the FWMP seems only to impede improvements to healthcare," he said.

While South Africa could not train even a fraction of the health workers it needed, the FWMP had developed a reputation for enormous inefficiency and for bias against foreign-qualified workers.

Other than one person with a Masters degree in Public Health, every other member of the committee was completely unqualified for the job.

One member had only a Grade 11. Another member had a call centre management certificate, and another had a certificate of competence in computer literacy.

'ANC's cadre deployment policy'

This seemed to be another example of the ANC's cadre deployment policy, at the expense of ordinary South Africans in need of decent healthcare, Waters said.

"The FWMP is notorious for long delays, sometimes of three years or more, in deciding on whether to accept or reject applications from foreign-qualified workers to work in South Africa.

"It is also notorious for rejecting applications on highly questionable grounds - recently the application of a British nurse with a Masters in nursing was rejected because her degree was too 'specialised'," he said.

The FWMP was responsible for applying the policy decided on by the National Health Council on foreign health workers.

Within these parameters, it had a great deal of discretion about who to accept.

Unfortunately for South Africa, its bias seemed to be towards finding reasons to reject applications, in an environment where South Africans stood in queues for hours or days because of shortages of doctors, nurses and specialists at public hospitals, Waters said.

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