Johannesburg - Gauteng MEC for Finance Barbara Creecy has increased allocations for mental health care from R700 million to R893.8 million as the province seeks to avoid a repeat of the tragedy in which 100 mental health patients died.
MEC Creecy said the Health Department would use this extra money to provide resources to support patients with mental health conditions in the wake of the Life Esidimeni tragedy, and to implement recommendations of the Health Ombud report into the deaths.
“As Provincial Treasury, we are committed to supporting the Health Department in implementing the recommendations of the Health Ombud report. When the alternative dispute resolution process is complete, we will appropriate any necessary resources for the families of the victims of the Life Esidimeni tragedy from the provincial revenue fund."
The Gauteng government has allocated R40.2 billion in the 2017/18 financial year towards health. This is an increase of R2.6 billion when compared with the previous allocation of R37.6 billion.
Tabling the budget in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, MEC Creecy said that putting more money into the health system was a major priority for Gauteng and would restore public confidence in the public health care system.
Money allocated to health would be split into five categories in support of service delivery initiatives. These include health treatment, emergency medical services and new medical supplies.
“We have allocated R40.2 billion to assist the department in this difficult task of restoring the public’s confidence in our health system. This budget will include allocation of money into key issues of hospitals, medication and service delivery in community health.”
About R9 billion will go towards supporting district hospitals, community health clinics and community based centres, while R7.3 billion has been allocated to central hospitals.
The treatment and prevention of HIV and AIDs and Tuberculosis receives R3.7 billion.
MEC Creecy said expenditure on health infrastructure would see R2.8 billion allocated towards the upgrading of Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg and other health facilities.
Last week a roof at the hospital caved in while private construction workers were filling in a leak. Five people were injured.
“The Department of Health will build the new Finetown Clinic, renovate of staff residences at Charlotte Maxeke and continue with the construction of new Lillian Ngoyi Hospital and upgrade Helen Joseph Hospital as well as convert of Discoverers and Lenasia South CHC into District hospitals,” the MEC said.
Meanwhile, education receives the largest share of the Gauteng budget at R40.8 billion this financial year.
Of this allocation:
- R3.7 billion goes to public ordinary schools, early childhood development and special schools
- R1.07 billion will ensure that 1.15 million learners are provided with a hot meal every day at school
- R779 million will be used to transport learners who live more than five kilometres from their nearest school
- R729 million is allocated towards supporting e-Learning
- R810 million will be used to buy textbooks, stationery, school furniture and other learner support materials
- R362.7 million is to pay municipal bills owed by schools. – TLM