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09 May 2017

R14.4 billion boost for public health in Eastern Cape

Embattled hospitals across the Eastern Cape – where health services have been shoddy and patients have been protesting – will be receiving a welcome boost.

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The Eastern Cape Health Department has put aside R14.4-billion to recruit medical specialists and general workers to fill vacancies in over 300 public health facilities across the province.

Specialised services

Health MEC Dr Pumza Dyantyi said the department is on track to recruit critical skills in areas such as midwifery, gynaecology and rheumatology this financial year, with the focus set firmly on improving services across the province. Areas of the Eastern Cape have faced serious health service delivery issues in recent years.

The MEC said the money has been put aside for the 2017-2018 financial year. From that budget about R156 million has been set aside to employ more doctors, nurses and general workers at health facilities.

"Our key area will be specialised services, whether it’s your medical or nursing specialties – in particular the ones that are dealing with obstetrics and gynaecology, because that is where our litigations mostly come from.”

Persistent shortages of doctors

Dyantyi said the department will also concentrate on making sure there are functioning theatres in areas across the province that have experienced shortages, particularly the O.R. Tambo region. Holy Cross Hospital, situated 20 km outside Flagstaff, is one of the hospitals that will definitely be receiving more specialists and doctors.

Earlier this year the community around the hospital embarked on protest action, prompting the MEC to pay two visits to Holy Cross Hospital. Community members were distressed by the long and a persistent shortage of doctors at the facility. In response Dyantyi elected a task team that compromised of all community stakeholders to investigate all the complaints raised.

"I met with board members of the hospital to talk about what action the department needs to take so that the hospital can operate smoothly,” said Dyantyi. – Health-e News.

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