NW dedicates budget to turnaround service delivery

Thursday, May 3, 2018

The North West Health Department says it will use the over R11 billion tabled in its departmental budget speech to ensure service delivery.

“We are determined to use this budget for what it is meant for. The Department will ensure that most of the accruals are paid by the end of the second quarter. Focus will be on prioritizing contractual obligations to ensure continuous service delivery at a level of health institutions. 

“We plan to equip financial staff members to ensure uniformity in rendering services. We are in the process of reviewing current contracts. The principle of value for money will be strictly adhered to while we also strengthen monitoring to ensure good governance,” said Health MEC Magome Masike.

The budget, tabled by MEC Masike on Thursday morning is a 5% increment from the 2017/18 budget. 

The commitment to ensure service delivery comes as the department faces a mirage of challenges which led to it finally being placed under administration.

Just last week, Cabinet took a decision to place the provincial department under administration under Section 100(1) (b) of the Constitution. In his delivery of the budget speech, the MEC noted the intervention as a welcome move.

“In the face of the challenges we faced in recent times, this intervention is needed. The Department is aware of the implications and we will together with a team from National review our plans and some of the commitments made in this Budget Speech as they guide us,” said the MEC.

MEC Masike said a few meetings and engagements with the teams tasked to assist the department are in the pipeline, demonstrating the “eagerness in ensuring quality health care services”. 

The decision by Cabinet follows a string of administrative issues which include the flouting of procurement procedures and maladministration in the department brought to the fore by the Portfolio Committee on Health and Social Development and the Public Accounts Committee.

“As you are aware, the Honourable Premier has handed a forensic report on Mediosa contract. We will proceed to formulate charges and institute disciplinary actions against those who are found to have flouted the rules. 

“The Department will continue to cooperate with law enforcement agencies and forensic investigations instituted to get to the bottom of all wrong doing in relation to all the other contracts which are questionable,” said the MEC. 

While the decision by Cabinet took place last week, healthcare workers are still on strike, affecting health services in the province.

“We have seen disruptions of services at about six clinics around Mahikeng. Lehurutshe and Zeerust hospitals were also disrupted and patients had to be evacuated. The result of this was overcrowding at Mahikeng Provincial Hospital.

“Subsequent, the services at Mahikeng Provincial Hospital were also disrupted leaving patients with no service point,” said the MEC.

In an effort to curb the impact of the strike the South African Military Health Services has stepped in to assist.

“As we emerge from this difficult period, I wish to thank the South African Military Health Services for having responded to the call for duty when our people desperately needed them. The SANDF came in and stabilized the situation particularly at Mahikeng Provincial Hospital and the Medical Depot,” said MEC Masike.

Doctors without Borders are also on board providing care in critical wards at Mahikeng and Job Shimankana Tabane Hospitals.

Talks are underway between the department and trade union, National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) to bring an end to the strike. – SAnews.gov.za

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