In its engagement with the Eastern Cape MEC for Health and leaders of the provincial Department of Health and other stakeholders, the Portfolio Committee on Health emphasised the urgency of improving the state of the hospitals in the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality. These hospitals include Uitenhage and Port Elizabeth provincial hospitals, and Dora Nginza and Livingstone hospitals.
The committee was in the Eastern Cape on a three-day oversight visit to the hospitals to assess, among other things, their implementation of the recommendations from the Public Protector, the Health Ombud and the Special Investigative Unit. Informing the MEC about what the committee found after it visited the hospitals, the Chairperson of the committee, Dr Kenneth Jacobs, said the hospitals are in a dilapidated condition.
This is very concerning and requires urgent intervention, he said. One of the first steps, Dr Jacobs advised, must be to ensure that the shortage of both clinical and non-clinical staff is urgently addressed at all the hospitals and to attend to low staff morale. He said the provincial department must fast-track filling vacancies in its turnaround plan for the hospitals.
Dr Jacobs said the turnaround plan the provincial Department of Health presented to the committee yesterday for the hospitals will be meaningless if it is not coupled with time frames. He emphasised the areas of accruals, medico-legal claims, realignment of budget to improve service delivery, digitisation of medical records, re-establishing training platforms for healthcare workers, and the safety and security of both the patients and staff.
Members of the committee said the degeneration of Dora Nginza Hospital and Livingstone Tertiary Hospital sullies the image of the people after whom the hospitals were named. The MEC assured the committee that the provincial Department of Health will improve matters at the hospitals.
Dr Jacobs told the MEC that the committee will hold virtual meetings after three months with the hospital leadership to assess progress on their implementation of the recommendations of the Public Protector, the Health Ombud, the Special Investigative Unit and the portfolio committee. Furthermore, the committee will have quarterly engagements with the provincial Department of Health on various issues, including making sure improvements at the hospitals occur.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.