Gauteng Health acts to reduce surgery backlog

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Pretoria – The Gauteng Health Department has partnered with the private sector to reduce the surgical operations backlog.

The partnership will also decrease waiting times for operations.

The department’s Executive Management Committee held a meeting on Monday to discuss ways to strengthen partnerships with the private sector. The meeting also discussed the strike by Forensic Pathology Officers (FPOs).

The department said negotiations are at an advanced stage to end the strike, which has affected services at Gauteng State mortuaries.

A special Public Health and Social Development Sectoral Bargaining Council (PHSDSBC) is today expected to sit to discuss all the concerns of the FPOs in Pretoria.

“Senior management of the department will [today] also meet with representatives of the FPOs to discuss the offer to improve conditions of service, which are on the table at the PHSDSBC and being implemented.

“The FPOs’ concerns range from resumption of counselling and debriefing sessions; supply of critical equipment and protective clothing; implementation of the danger allowance for qualifying employees; and reversal of the Occupational Specific Dispensation (OSD) remuneration scales to pre-OSD salary scales, which happen to give better net salaries,” said the department.

The negotiations will also encompass the introduction of a dissecting allowance, with effect from 1 April 2017. This would include FPOs being authorised to perform dissecting work under the direct supervision and direction of the responsible pathologist or medical officer. FPOs would be paid a provisional dissecting allowance, while parties at the PHSDSBC negotiate and conclude a sustainable model for professionalisation and career pathing within six months after attaining majority signature.

Paying service providers

With regard to the payment of suppliers, the department said it has decided to do away with the quotations system over the next six months in favour of a transversal list of suppliers from which hospitals and clinics will order. This is part of the commitment to the Open Tender System of the Gauteng Provincial Government.

Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa used the opportunity to express condolences to the bereaved families affected by the FPOs’ strike.

The strike has led to a backlog of more than 200 post-mortems.

“I appeal to the Forensic Pathology Officers to suspend their work-to-rule action and serve the public in this essential area,” said MEC Ramokgopa. - SAnews.gov.za 

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