Hospital labs open after debt payment
Johannesburg - Laboratory services within public hospitals have resumed after the payment of over R700m owed by Gauteng to service providers.
The National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) had begun restoring services at laboratories which were closed last week, said spokesperson Simon Zwane on Monday.
All laboratory services were expected to be operational by the end of the week.
The health department was to begin negotiating with service providers to redeem debt owed, said Zwane.
This followed the payment of R736m to suppliers last week. The NHLS received R150m and the SA National Blood Service received R50m.
The Democratic Alliance reported in January that the shortfall in payments to the NHLS had resulted in the halting of training of technicians and the closing down of laboratories in an effort to save costs while awaiting payment.
Zwane said on Sunday the provincial government had identified "a potential R1bn in cash to pay for service providers in the Gauteng health department".
This would result in R1.6bn being paid by the end of March.
"We would like to reiterate that the department is fully aware and committed to meeting all its past and future obligations to its suppliers," said Zwane.