Failure to plan is planning to fail

BY Celeste Barker MPL, DA Shadow MEC for Health

Empty promises by the Eastern Cape Department of Health (DoH) have led to its repetitive annual failure to produce an organogram over the last three years. 

This repetitive failure to plan lets our people down daily as evidenced in media horror stories of untreated wounds, inexplicable in hospital death by falling out of a tiny window, cockroaches in a maternity ward, patient litanies of slow or poor EMS service, dirty, neglected and run down facilities and shortages ranging from vital theatre equipment to linen, meals and staff.

The recently released DoH April to September 2016 Annual Financial Oversight Report clearly indicates that there are serious planning problems in the department.  Examples of unauthorised over-spending highlight planning failures such as an unbudgeted expense of R94.1-million on  Medico-Legal cases, R28-million spent to fund the Cuban Doctors Bursary Programme and more unbudgeted funding for leave gratuities and provincial hospital services as well as R28 Million for arrears payment for Fleet Management Accounts.

DoH finances are in such a parlous state that fleet vehicles have been attached to defray medico-legal costs.  A conditional grant for its flagship NHI project has been underspent by 92% so, in effect, only 8% of this grant was utilised.

Such epic failure could well cause a further collapse in our public health system and shrink DoH performance and success.  The DA will keep an eagle eye on the DoH budget and its performance because we care about the health of all our people regardless of who they are or where they live.

We uphold the constitutional right of every citizen to decent healthcare and so, before it is too late to save our department, we repeat our appeal to the DoH to visit the Western Cape DoH.

If departmental spending, planning and service delivery continues to demonstrate money management failure the DA will, because we support our constitution and because our people deserve better, have no choice other than to recommend that the Eastern Cape Department of Health should be placed under administration.

 March 06, 2017
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