'Overburdened' Western Cape hospitals need more resources to assist with high murder rate - MEC

Western Cape health MEC Dr Nomafrench Mbombo says the demand for health care services outweighs the demand. (Kamva Somdyala, News24)
Western Cape health MEC Dr Nomafrench Mbombo says the demand for health care services outweighs the demand. (Kamva Somdyala, News24)

Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo says the demand for health care services outweighs the demand and, as a result, more resources are needed to deal with the high crime and murder rate.

Mbombo was briefing journalists in Cape Town on key updates in her department.

Asked about capacity to provide health care services to victims of crime, given that 71 murders were reported in the province over the past two weekends, Mbombo said hospitals across the province were "overburdened", and had been inundated with requests from people requiring services.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde on Monday reported that a total of 46 people had been murdered over the weekend, with 21 shootings, 20 stabbings and five murders by other causes - an increase from the 25 murders recorded by the province's forensics services the previous weekend.

"The provincial budget cuts the health department has faced over the last three years has meant that the number of staff available at hospitals is less than the number of people who require medical services," Mbombo said.

"When you look at bailouts that Treasury gives to state-owned enterprises, you'll never hear of a bailout for the health department, and because of budget cuts, health facilities cannot afford to employ more people to assist with overburdened staff."

She added that staff were "overburdened" and that "the cost involved in dealing with violence related health care is quite high".

Mbombo also welcomed the signing of the Presidential Health Compact by President Cyril Ramaphosa and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.

"The Health Compact has the potential to improve equity, quality of care and access to care.

"In order for the Presidential Health Compact to succeed, we believe that the focus should be on establishing strong provincial health systems and local competency to ensure that there are no limitations to accessing health care for any individual."

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