NEHAWU is extremely concerned at the seemingly never ending crisis in the Gauteng Health department. There is a litany of wide-ranging issues which we believe are simply not being recognised by Gauteng politicians and senior managers, and therefore not being effectively resolved.
We have specifically noted a number of disturbing incidents over the past number of weeks and are concerned about the impact these have on patients.
At both Charlotte Maxeke Hospital and Steve Biko Academic Hospital breakdowns have occurred with radiation treatment during February. Apparently the non functional machines could not be fixed due to non payment of accounts.
The ongoing saga we constantly hear about at Chris Hani Baragwanath (CHB) includes miscarriages, women giving birth on floors in the maternity unit, unhygienic conditions in the hospital, doctors abusing the system by treating private patients at the hospital and charging them full price as private practitioners, doctors claiming overtime to which they are not entitled. Patients have been turned away without drugs on more than one occasion.
The national department has had to arrange a financial bailout so that the National Health Laboratory Service continues to provide results of HIV and TB tests.
NEHAWU lauds the Gauteng department on its intention to increase the reach of people on ARV treatment to 1 million in 2012 / 2013. We also welcome the recent announcement that a new maternity unit will be established at Chris Hani Baragwanath.
However, we believe that the Department should go further in fully resolving the challenges by filling all vacant posts for clinicians and support staff. The department must also settle all their outstanding bills so as to ensure that critical services are not compromised. They should also implement a decentralised management system not only between the province and institutions but within institutions themselves. To this end we would welcome a discussion around the positive impact of the NEHAWU / NALEDI Chris Hani Baragwanath Project that was piloted between 2003 and 2008.
As a leading public sector union in South Africa, NEHAWU is committed to working together with the political leadership and management structures of the Gauteng province on a public service delivery campaign. We are committed on ensuring that communities in Gauteng receive the quality services they deserve.