Pretoria - The resignation of 17 doctors at Leratong Hospital on the West Rand does not represent a crisis at provincial public health facilities, says Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu.
Responding to reports by international media that the hospital faces a staff crisis due to the resignations early this year, Mahlangu said provincial hospitals including clinics and emergency services stand ready to deal with any situation that may arise through various measures that have been put in place.
"So far our emergency personnel have been able to respond satisfactorily to a number of incidences since the World Cup started, even the world soccer governing body FIFA has expressed confidence in the health facilities' abilities to deal with any emergencies should any arise," Mahlangu said on Monday.
Explaining the reasons for the resignations at the hospital, Mahlangu said that four doctors resigned after their community service contracts expired, three took up registrar posts with tertiary institutions, four took up employment with the Regional Health Department, three took up employment with the private sector and no reasons were specified for another three resignations.
In an effort to ensure that the provincial health system is able to deal with any emergencies that may arise during the World Cup, the department purchased an additional 121 ambulances in the previous financial year, an additional 60 ambulances were procured in the current financial year.
"The department has recruited 321 emergency personnel to ensure that we respond adequately to any eventuality to our pathological services, Forensic Pathology services will provide 24 hour service during the tournament.
"The department has also extended hours of operation at our health facilities, pharmacies in public hospitals will operate until 10pm daily and private pharmacies have extended trading hours during the tournament," Mahlangu said.
A total of five hospitals and two community health centres have also been earmarked as World Cup referral facilities in case of emergencies.