Gauteng denies vacancy crisis in hospitals

The Gauteng health department has approved the hiring of specialists to fill vacant posts in the province’s hospitals, an official said on Monday.

“It is not true that the hospitals are starting the year in a crisis because of the moratorium on the filling of specialists’ posts,” departmental spokesperson Simon Zwane said in a statement.

The moratorium was intended to avoid hiring “non-essential staff which only serves to bloat the bureaucracy at the expense of medical and allied health professionals”.

He was commenting on remarks made by the Democratic Alliance’s Jack Bloom in December.

Bloom said the department had “frozen” posts and this would negatively affect hospitals in the province, which already had a shortage of staff.

“Any new appointments now have to be approved by Dr Kamy Chetty, the head of the department [of health in Gauteng] ... this is a retrograde move since it will add to the delays in filling critical positions,” said Bloom.

‘Misleading and disingenuous’
Zwane labelled Bloom’s comments as “mischievous, misleading and disingenuous”.

“Mr Bloom has been informed that posts will be filled in a coordinated manner so that there can be an effective utilisation of resources,” said Zwane.

He said his department was prioritising the filling of service delivery posts, which included specialists, medical doctors and other health professionals.

“The information that Mr Bloom has provided for hospitals is misleading, for example Leratong Hospital does not have a 75% shortage rate for specialists.

The hospital had 13 full-time specialists, three sessional specialists and the head of department had approved three more posts for the hospital, he said.

He said all hospitals mentioned by Bloom had started recruiting staff to fill vacant positions.—Sapa

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