'Tis the season: Ramaphosa's stimulus package provides major health sector jobs boost

2018-12-10 17:24
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. (Gallo Images, Alon Skuy)

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. (Gallo Images, Alon Skuy)

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Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has announced the implementation of a presidential stimulus package which will help boost the health sector with the creation of more than 5 300 jobs throughout the country.

The much-needed boost would create posts for clinical and support staff in the health system across all nine provinces, Motsoaledi said in a statement on Monday.

The minister made the announcement on behalf of the National Health Council – a statutory body that includes the health minister, deputy health minister, and the nine provincial MECs for health, among others – which met between December 6 and 7.

President Cyril Ramaphosa had previously announced the stimulus package to help kickstart the economy. In the health sector, the stimulus will focus on three key areas: human resources for health; hospital beds; and hospital linen. 

Poor governance, understaffing

The posts will be filled in health departments in all nine provinces from the beginning of January 2019.

Understaffing has been cited as a major shortcoming in providing healthcare across all provinces, and the appointment of a broad spectrum of health workers and professionals is expected to directly address the problem.

The North West province, in particular, where the provincial Department of Health has faced a number of challenges due to poor governance and other related problems, will be breathing a huge sigh of relief.

The health council identified dire shortages in the province and the North West health department will be bolstered with the appointment of 20 "medical specialists", 28 "medical officers (post-community service doctors)", 45 "professional nurse specialists", 25 "professional nurses", 107 "enrolled nurses", and 385 "administrative clerks".

The health council has provided a breakdown of the posts, across all nine provinces, as follows: 

Eastern Cape

• 3 medical specialists;

• 36 medical officers (post-community service doctors);

• 100 enrolled nursing assistants;

• 74 enrolled nurses;

• 50 pharmacy assistants;

• 320 general staff, porters and mortuary attendants.

Free State

• 8 medical specialists;

• 13 medical officers (post-community service doctors);

• 43 professional nurses;

• 12 enrolled nurses;

• 37 enrolled nursing assistants.

Gauteng

• 15 medical specialists;

• 10 registrars (medical specialists in training);

• 20 medical officers (post-community service doctors);

• 40 specialist professional nurses;

• 245 professional nurses;

• 75 enrolled nurses;

• 100 porters;

• 100 general assistants;

• 8 occupational therapists;

• 8 physiotherapists;

• 10 pharmacists;

• 10 pharmacy assistants;

• 10 radiographers;

• 10 social workers;

• 8 clinical psychologists.

KwaZulu-Natal

• 97 registrars (medical specialists in training);

• 150 enrolled nurses;

• 150 enrolled nursing assistants;

• 50 pharmacy assistants;

• 15 artisans;

• 160 porters;

• 160 general assistants.

Limpopo

• 16 medical specialists;

• 227 medical officers (post-community service doctors);

• 68 pharmacists;

• 309 professional nurses;

• 14 dentists;

• 57 allied health professionals;

• 4 clinical psychologists;

• 6 clinical associates;

Mpumalanga

• 2 medical specialists;

 • 3 registrars (medical specialists in training);

• 44 medical officers (post-community service doctors);

• 40 enrolled nurses;

• 60 general staff, cleaners and information officers.

Northern Cape

• 1 medical specialists;

• 10 professional nurses;

Western Cape

• 3 medical specialists;

• 8 registrars (medical specialists in training);

• 9 medical officers (post-community service doctors);

• 42 professional nurses;

• 25 enrolled nurses;

• 2 pharmacists;

• 16 pharmacy assistants;

• 40 artisans;

• 6 forensic pathologists.

North West

• 20 medical specialists;

• 28 registrars (medical specialists in training);

• 28 medical officers (post-community service doctors);

• 3 pharmacists;

• 42 pharmacy assistants;

• 45 professional nurse specialists;

• 25 professional nurses;

• 107 enrolled nurses;

• 12 clinical associates;

• 4 radiotherapists;

• 4 dieticians;

• 2 social workers;

• 272 information officers;

• 145 EMS personnel;• 5 engineers

• 19 artisans;

• 7 architects;

• 385 administrative clerks;

• 73 porters;

• 248 general assistants;

• 52 drivers;

• 525 cleaners;

• 75 laundry staff;

• 6 mortuary assistants;

• 84 food aides;

• 6 programme managers.

The health council has, however, acknowledged that the "health system still needs more personnel" than what they are currently providing, but that this was what they currently "could afford, in terms of what is there in the stimulus package and other available sources".

Orders for hospital beds and linen had already been made at national level and details of distribution to the various provinces would be announced in early 2019.

The National Health Council meets four times a year, and other members also include the director-general of the Department of Health, the nine provincial health departments heads, the surgeon general of the SA Military Health Services, and two representatives from the SA Local Government Association.

Read more on:    cyril ramaphosa  |  aaron motsoaledi  |  health  |  service delivery
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