DA wants 'proper control' of E Cape health dept

The Democratic Alliance has asked Eastern Cape Premier Nosimo Balindlela to place the health department under the administration of the provincial treasury.

“This will allow the province to take proper control of its finances and institute a complete review of all current appointments,” DA spokesperson Mike Waters said on Wednesday.

In a letter to Balindlela, Waters said it is becoming increasingly apparent that the Eastern Cape health department is unable to manage the health facilities under its control in a way that serves the best interests of the people of the province.

“The department of health’s investigation into Frere Hospital revealed numerous areas of gross neglect indicating a complete lack of awareness on the part of the provincial administration of the situation at the hospital and massive under-budgeting for its needs (the national department recommended the hospital’s maintenance budget be increased from R3,5-million to R35-million).”

Problems in the department were further reinforced through a visit by a National Council of Provinces delegation earlier this week, which unearthed a range of other problems at hospitals in the province, including that there was a nurse-to-patient ratio of 90 to one at the Dora Nginza Hospital.

These reports came on top of a disclaimer of opinion given by the Auditor General in 2004/05.

“I believe that these problems are sufficiently serious to require that the department be placed under the administration of the provincial treasury in order to restore the department’s management to a state of order,” Waters said.

A doctor who supported former deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge’s view that the health situation at Frere Hospital constituted a crisis was suspended earlier this week.

Dr Nokuzola Ntshona on Tuesday confirmed that Luvuyo Mosana, the CEO of the East London Hospital Complex, which includes Frere and Cecilia Makiwane hospitals, had suspended her on Monday. “He said I was being suspended for talking to the media,” she said.—Sapa

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