The Inkatha Freedom Party calls on the KZN MEC of Health, Dr Sbongiseni Dhlomo to provide answers on the timeframe for the filling of all critical vacant posts in provincial healthcare centres.
IFP Member of the Provincial Legislature and Health Spokesperson, Mrs Ncamisile Nkwanyana, said that the shortage of nurses at KwaDabeka Clinic has crippled the provision of healthcare services in the area. This proves that the Department of Health is on a slippery slope and it is rolling downhill under MEC Dhlomo. This situation paints a picture of a department struggling to deliver consistently high-quality care while hampered by a widespread lack of staff. The increasing pressure and unmanageable workloads are the greatest barriers to delivering high quality care for patients.
“Vacant critical posts have particularly severe consequences for rural facilities, which are generally under staffed. Other healthcare workers are required to pick up the slack. Nurses are working more and more hours without rest and this pressure is causing stress and making staff unwell. State hospitals are already over-crowded and largely understaffed, not filling vacancies will further exacerbate the problem and ensure that the poorest of the poor suffer the most. If this this situation is not addressed urgently it will continue until service delivery collapses entirely at most facilities.
“The right of access to health care services requires that the state goes further than merely stating the right or developing strategies for its realisation. Without implementable plans and budgets attached to those plans, the state’s obligations are not met. It is insufficient for the state merely to argue that funds are not available or that particular priorities have not been budgeted for. Mounting financial challenges should not an excuse for inadequate care.
Nevertheless, healthcare executives have an ethical responsibility to address any shortages that exist within their organisations in such a way that patient care is not compromised, existing staff are not unduly burdened and financial costs do not become excessive. The IFP encourages healthcare executives to collaborate on the development of creative, sustainable strategies that will benefit their respective organisations as well as help ensure that high-quality, affordable healthcare remains available in our communities.
The IFP is of the view that KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health face “a stark choice”. It can either resist change and see services deteriorate to the point of collapse over time, or change the pace it is moving at by addressing the challenges facing the provision of healthcare services in the province.
Mrs Ncamisile Nkwanyana MPL
IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson on Health
078 302 3991