18 February 2016

Job freezes threaten healthcare, warns DA

The Health Professional Council of South Africa must be quizzed over unfilled medical posts owing to a reported cash squeeze, says the Democratic Alliance.


Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance in the Western Cape wants the Health Professional Council of South Africa (HPCSA) to answer questions over medical posts, noting that it will leave the poorest of the poor suffering most.

This follows reports that medical vacancies in several provinces are not being filled due to budgetary constraints.

Read: Left for dead: The shocking state of ambulances

Western Cape spokesperson on community development Lorraine Botha told Health24 that there were numerous issues relating to practising health professionals, and that unfilled medical posts was just one of them.

Botha, who is also the chairperson of the standing committees on social development and health in the Western Cape legislature, wants the HPCSA to appear in front of the committee.

The aim is to inquire how well resourced the Western Cape department of health is and whether they are facing any challenges with filling of medical posts.

"Inviting the HPSCA before the committee will give them the platform to come to Parliament and provide clarity around the extent of the issue at hand as well as others of its nature (that being where medical staff can for some or other reason not practice).

Read: Poor service also at private hospitals

"Should it come to light, at the committee briefing, that doctors or other medical staff in the province are finding it difficult to practice due this issue, I will write to the Minister [Nomafrench Mbombo] to inquire about what her department is doing in the face thereof."

She said solving the problem of unfilled vacancies would contribute to easing the burden on state hospitals, which were already overcrowded and largely understaffed.

Botha said the DA was committed to ensuring that all vacancies in critical areas were filled by well-trained staff, adding that she intended submiting parliamentary questions to the Western Cape department of health to find out the number of posts available.

Read: Department of health denies allegations of frozen posts

Meanwhile, the national department of health rejected allegations that provincial health departments may be "freezing posts" amid tight budgets, according to Health-e News in an article published on Health24.

"We want to put it on record that there are no medical posts frozen in this country," said Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi in a statement.

"If there is freezing of posts by government departments, they have nothing to do with medical doctors as posts in the health sector are exempted."

He encouraged the public to send him the names of doctors who were unemployed due to "frozen posts" so that he could place them in a job.

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