Hospitals to be assessed by health teams

Thursday, November 19, 2009
By: 
Gabi Khumalo

Johannesburg - As part of government's overhauling of the South African health system, the Department of Health is to send a team to all the hospitals around the country to assess the needs and challenges of facilities.

The team will be conducting a check list on each hospital, inspecting the management of human resources, infrastructure, whether they have skilled people in maintenance and how they manage information in the institutions.

"We want our institutions to be brand new, efficient and repair those managers who are repairable," said Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi on Thursday.

The minister was addressing Chief Executive Officers from the country's hospitals, as well as clinical managers, nursing managers and district managers during a meeting aimed at sharing ideas and finding ways to improve the country's health system.

Government recently announced a 10-point plan to overhaul the health system, looking at all aspects of the structure and the National Health Insurance.

"The 10-point plan is going to be our bible and has been submitted to Parliament as our Programme of Action for the next five years," said Motsoaledi, emphasising the importance of improving the quality of health services and overhauling the health care system and improving its management.

Regarding improvements in the quality of health services, the minister said that the department would put more focus on the safety and security of patients, infection control, cleanness of hospitals and number of hours people queue in hospitals.

This was after the minister had heard shocking stories about the state of facilities.

"We need to reverse this. Some hospitals are death traps, where patients suffer infections which they are not supposed to while in your hospitals.

"You can have many doctors but if you are disorganised, nothing will come out from that hospital," Motsoaledi told the CEOs.

He further emphasised the importance of holding meetings between managers and the CEO to ensure the smooth running of hospitals.

"You need management meetings on a daily basis and remind those staff members who were angry that it's not illegal to smile at the patients," he said.

On overhauling the health care system, Motsoaledi noted that the department could not go on with the current system and encouraged to put more focus on primary health care and the return of health inspectors to prevent more outbreaks before they attack the country.

"If we can go back to basics, we can address most of the problems we have in our institutions, we did difficult things for other countries but dismally fail in doing simple things.

"Why are we running systems that wait for people to get sick to know that there is a problem, why can't we prevent outbreaks before they attack us," he said.

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