State hospitals "highly stressed" says SA minister

A government study of the health department has found that public hospitals are “highly stressed institutions” owing to staff shortages, unmanageable workloads and management failures, says South African Public Service and Administration Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi.

The government was considering re-establishing nurses training colleges which had been closed under the democratic government, she said.

The minister told a briefing at Parliament on Tuesday that the study found that the situation with nurses was “particularly acute”.

Limited devolution of decision-making power and organisational control “has led to a number of problems”, she said in a prepared briefing to the media.

“Blurred lines of authority and responsibility in province, district and hospital need to be addressed.”

Noting the steps needed to correct these problems, she said that hospital managers would in the next six months come under the focus of the government.

This would include a review of the grading of their posts and the development “of a

tailored training programme for chief executive officers [of hospitals]”.

She said the numbers of less-skilled staff would be increased to ensure that health professionals “do not do menial work but are able to focus on their health care duties”.

Fraser-Moleketi said an investigation into the re-establishment of nurses training colleges would be completed by July. - I-Net Bridge

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