The Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital is reported to be owing R276 million to about 2675 suppliers for over a year.
This was revealed on Thursday by Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko in a written reply to DA’s question in the Gauteng legislature.
As a result, patient care at the hospital is said to have suffered because the suppliers who have not been paid have refused to supply critical instruments, such as spinal needles, epidural sets and central venous catheters.
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Nkomo-Ralehoko said as a result of non-payment or late payments in the last six months, the hospital was out of epidural sets, sizes 16g and 18g, spinal needles sizes, 18g, 22g, 24g and 25g, and central venous catheters, three lumens. She said:
She said due to the cash flow issues with the department of health, the suppliers had put the facility's account on hold until all outstanding invoices were included in the payment run.
Nkomo-Ralehoko could not say what accounted for non-payment or late payments to suppliers, stating payment run was managed by the office of the CFO of the national department of health.
Gauteng Shadow Health MEC Jack Bloom said the non-payments were not the fault of the hospital but due to cash flow issues with the department of health.
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“The suppliers have now put the facility's account on hold until all outstanding invoices are included in the payment run. The financial mismanagement of the department is an ongoing scandal that seriously affects treatment at the hospital. Why should patients suffer because many suppliers are owed huge amounts for more than a year?” he said.
Bloom mentioned that the Western Cape health department paid most of its suppliers within 15 days.
“A top management shake-up is needed to ensure that competent people are brought in to clear the backlog of payments and pay all suppliers within the legally required 30 days,” he said.