Gauteng health department finally pays up

"The department faced tremendous pressure in the 2011/12 financial year to settle supplier debt … [it] devised a payment plan which stipulated that it would use the resources to pay off all suppliers by the end of June this year," she told reporters in Johannesburg on Sunday.

"A total of R4.4-billion was therefore paid from April to June this year, and we can now say that the deadline of settling accrual by June 30 has been achieved."

Mekgwe said the department had paid its debts up to March this year. Subsequent payments would be made monthly.

"We have put in place a plan to avoid a recurrence of the accruals and cash flow challenges that we experienced … Our plan includes achieving a cost saving of R1.6-billion through cost containment measures."

The department had also developed a Gauteng health turnaround strategy to highlight and rectify shortcomings in the sector. It would focus on reviewing all existing contracts and tenders, address fraud and corruption, and establish an office for ethics and discipline in the department.

To improve ambulance response times, a chief executive would be appointed to manage emergency services.

"Where medical negligence is confirmed we will endeavour to avoid protracted court battles by entering into appropriate settlement negotiations with affected parties," Mekgwe said. – Sapa

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