KZN health dept denies DA claims that hospitals are going under national administration

2018-06-11 18:47
Sibongiseni Dhlomo (Picture: The Witness)

Sibongiseni Dhlomo (Picture: The Witness)

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The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health has dismissed allegations that five of its hospitals will be placed under administration by the national department.

The Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal had earlier on Monday claimed it had been reliably informed by a senior source within the department that RK Khan in Durban, Northdale in Pietermaritzburg, Ngwelezane in Empangeni, Murchison in Port Shepstone, and Ladysmith would be placed under administration.

The provincial department said 30 support teams per province had been established by the national department as part of an initiative to identify and address challenges with healthcare service across the country, including in the province.

"These teams will be spending a few days at each health facility. This exercise was formally communicated to all provinces, with a request to identify five facilities per province to form part of this exercise. The KZN department of health chose RK Khan, Ngwelezane, Murchison, Northdale, and Ladysmith hospitals. Support teams that are made up of officials from the national department of Health will be visiting and inspecting these identified hospitals," the provincial department said in a statement.

READ: Strides being made to address oncology crisis - KZN health dept

These support teams will work closely with their counterparts at provincial, district and facility levels, and will present reports to the provincial heads of department, said the statement.

"This initiative is a response by a caring and responsive government in its quest to improve the provision of healthcare services, with a particular focus on addressing challenges such as waiting times, staff shortages, availability of hospital beds, overcrowding, and the clearance of patient backlogs, particularly at the casualty areas."

The department, led by MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo, said it remained committed to providing quality healthcare to the people of KwaZulu-Natal, despite the high burden of diseases, and "rejects with contempt any deliberate disinformation campaigns by unscrupulous individuals".

Dhlomo met the support team from the national department at his office in Durban on Monday morning.

"The delegation is welcome, and they are part of us. Minister (Aaron) Motsoaledi last week did announce that they will be visiting, and he further elaborated on this when we met at the National Health Council on Wednesday (June 6). We are looking forward to receiving support in strengthening capacity at some of our health institutions," said Dhlomo.

'Staff shortages, long queues, rudeness by staff'

The DA had earlier said that the national department had taken the decision to place the hospitals under administration in a bid to improve years of appalling services to patients in the province.

DA provincial health spokesperson Dr Imran Keeka said the move was also confirmed in a letter dated June 3 from the director general of health, Malebona Matsoso, to the provinces’ acting head of health, Dr Musa Gumede.

"The hospitals earmarked for intervention are indeed some of the most problematic facilities in the province with staff shortages, long queues, rudeness by staff, poor management of patient complaints and medicine shortages," he said.

He said, "regrettably", the five hospitals were not the only facilities in the province that required intervention.

"The DA believes that this list should also include hospitals such as Addington, Stanger Hospital and St Mary's in Mariannhill, which was recently taken over by the provincial department," he said.

He said it was incomprehensible why Premier Willies Mchunu had not fired Dhlomo yet.

"It is time that he and his ANC-led provincial government opened their eyes. It is precisely due to their inaction that hundreds of lives have already been lost as a result of the province’s ongoing KZN oncology crisis," he said.




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