Irregular expenditure in the Department of Health, which has surged with R37 million since 2018/19 to a staggering R69 million in 2019/20, is busy wreaking havoc in the Department. In conjunction with the Minister of Finance’s budget cuts for the Department, the future seems bleak.
The negative impact of this is not only evident in the Eastern Cape, where they are struggling to help large numbers of Covid-19 patients due to shortages of beds, medicine, oxygen, doctors and nurses, but also countrywide with the appointment of medical interns.
It came to light on 2 December 2020, that final-year medical students will not be appointed as interns at state hospitals nationwide because the National Treasury and the Department of Health lack the funds to do so. Some of the students were only informed of this a few days before their final examination.
The Department’s actions are inexcusable and will have a massive impact on the already paralysed public healthcare system. It means that more healthcare workers will not be appointed any time soon even though there are already serious staff shortages.
The news is alarming seeing as an individual can only register as a medical doctor after completing two years of internship and one year of community service. Ultimately, this will result in a serious shortage of healthcare workers in the future, which is something that South Africa cannot afford. This explains why the field hospitals are not being used and why the Covid-19 wards that were equipped are not staffed.
This new development is disruptive to the lives of interns who had to make arrangements for, among other things, accommodation. The FF Plus recently asked the Minister of Health, Zweli Mkhize, why there is such a shortage of doctors and nurses in South Africa’s state hospitals. He responded by stating that in the last ten years, public healthcare budget has not been increased while the demand for healthcare services did increase, so there is no money available to solve the problem.
Be that as it may, the Minister still has not tabled a feasible plan to eradicate maladministration and corruption in his Department and because he is dragging his feet, the country’s healthcare services are negatively affected.
Read the original article in Afrikaans by Philip van Staden on FF Plus
South Africa Today – South Africa News