We have been hard at work as the Gauteng Department of Health to refocus the department on patient care.
Let me re-assert to the public that we will at all times strive to ensure that the department is competent; professional and caring.
We are finalising delegations and strengthening our frontline services to respond optimally to the need for reducing the burden of disease and enhancing the quality of care by the health system in Gauteng.
In order to achieve this, we have endeavoured to:
- Optimise stakeholder involvement – I have just had a Provincial Health Council meeting constituted by Members of the Mayoral Committees responsible for Health and Emergency Medical Services from the three Metropolitan and two District Municipalities. We jointly agreed to work together to put the needs of our people first, to ensure that quality care is provided and to promote healthy lifestyles throughout the Province.
- Ownership of the Gauteng health services by our people - Next week on the 26th April we will be meeting the first of the five groups of Clinic Committees in the West Rand district area. We will also be officially opening the New Randgate Clinic in Randfontein. This state-of-the-art Primary Healthcare facility promises to offer a more comfortable and efficient service to the community. The clinic replaces the four roomed facility which is located within the Randgate Old Age Home.
- Health Infrastructure – Working with the Department of Infrastructure Development we will utilise the conditional assessment report of all health facilities to develop a fast-tracked infrastructure renovation program with CEO’s in hospitals and District Health Managers. We will be capacitating our frontline managers in building capacity at the coalface of service delivery. We are also engaging other stakeholders to assist us in improving our infrastructure management capacity.
- Mitigate the financial risk (accruals, cash flow, over expenditure and medico legal);
- Implementation of the Health Ombudsman Recommendations
On Mental Health
We have committed as the department to provide the public with regular updates on the work that we are doing in the implementation of the Health Ombudsman Recommendations.
We have over the past 79 days been working very closely with the Office of the Minister of Health, the Premier of Gauteng and the families in the transfer of mental health patients to appropriate and suitable facilities.
This work also included the reconstituting of the Mental Health Review Board. The Health Ombud has agreed based on the progress made and support to the NGO’s in the interest of patients, to extend the 45-day deadline for the transfer of patients.
The multi-disciplinary team of experts involved in the process of moving patients have advised that the 45 days will have an adverse effect on the wellbeing of the patients. The projected date for the transfer of all patients is end of April 2017.
Disciplinary action is underway for officials implicated in the Ombud Report
The Disciplinary Hearing for the HoD Dr T Selebano was set to take place from 13-17 March 2017. The Hearing was postponed to allow time for the employee to make representations to the Health Ombudsman within a period of 30 days on the findings of the report released on 1 February 2017.
The parties have agreed to make decisions on the next formal date for the disciplinary hearing.
The parties will come together to determine how far they are with the process and the state of readiness to proceed with the disciplinary hearing without delay.
The other officials cited in the Report of the Health Ombudsman have all been issued with notices of intention to suspend. Their representations have been received and are currently being considered. Work has begun to strengthen the Mental Health Care Review Board and an Interim Chairperson has been appointed.
- Forensic investigations are underway to determine the cause of death so that all the deceased are accounted for.
- Some of the facilities from where patients have been moved are now closed.
- The licensing requirements for NGOs are being reviewed and regularised.
- To date 592 mental patients have been transferred to suitable facilities.
On Medico Legal
This is a global challenge that is not unique to the Gauteng Department of Health so much so that Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi convened a national summit to deal with the rising number and the impact of medico-legal claims in South Africa.
The summit which was addressed by various stakeholders including experts from the World Health Organisation; British Litigation Authority; Medical Protection Society; Road Accident Fund and many others.
We cannot deny that escalating medico litigations impact the recruitment of specialists; the management of departmental resources thereby impacting the quality of access to health care.
It should be noted that the department does not budget for negligence as it is considered to be fruitless and wasteful expenditure and therefore budgeting for negligence is in contravention of the Public Finance Management Act.
Our view is that payments to settle negligence cases should not result in patient care and safety being compromised.
The department is therefore still consulting with all relevant stakeholders to determine the best possible solution in this regard. I will give you an update on the work that we have done in this area next week.
Mitigate the financial risk – payment of suppliers
The payment of suppliers, stabilising finances of the department and strengthening partnership with business community remains our top priority. On the 16th of March We met with suppliers to address and reassure them of our commitment work with them.
The first payment file was submitted on the 3rd of April 2017 which was the first working day of the financial year for suppliers that were owed less than R5 million. This is a huge improvement to previous financial years with system changes that resulted in the department only releasing payment runs in the 3rd week of April.
As at the 20th of April 2017 the department has paid 1849 suppliers to the value of R1.569 billion.
This means there are 62 suppliers who have not yet received any form of payment and these are mainly as a result of suppliers whose Tax Certificates have expired.
Provincial Treasury is engaged to open these suppliers for payment since their Tax Certificates would have been valid at the time when orders were placed.
From the 11th of April 2017 suppliers have started to receive funds in their bank accounts.
As agreed at our meeting with suppliers that we would give a progress report before the end of April month, we will be doing so next week on the 25th of April 2017.
Issued by Department of Health Gauteng Province