The Inkatha Freedom Party calls on the KZN Premier, Willies Mchunu to summon the KZN MEC of Health, Dr Sbongiseni Dhlomo for his failure to address certain health related issues in the province especially the shortage of medical staff.
“The protest organised by the members of the South African Medical Association in KwaZulu-Natal to raise their concerns about the crumbling infrastructure, broken equipment and shortage of staff due to frozen posts and cost-cutting is evidence of what we have been championing for a long time but our concerns fell on deaf ears. Over the past months, we’ve noted with great concern the excessive ineptitude of the MEC in the operational matters of the department which poses a lot of questions in as far as the competency and/ or efficiency of his leadership role. The provision of quality basic healthcare services is essential if we are to offer all South Africans the opportunity to their lead healthy lives.
The situation in KZN is very disturbing, and I can see that the whole health system is on the verge of collapse. We must also caution that the situation is just a tip of the iceberg in as far as the unbearable medical staff vacancy rate is concerned. Unfortunately, this overloads the few remaining patriotic medical practitioners who go beyond their contractual obligations of employment and are never appreciated in any way. The massive frustration is the gravitas of the problems. Many people are dying and others have their lives impaired because of the issues at hand. No one is being held properly accountable for any poor service delivery or failed outcomes,” said IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson on Health, Mrs Ncamisile Nkwanyana MPL.
“On this note we have patiently observed with displeasure the utterances of the department attributing its poor performance on the bad attitude of healthcare professionals. What worries us most is that such statements are made on media platforms. We do not wish to engage in public spats with the leadership of the department but we will not be silent when we see that the department is failing to fulfil its obligations. The MEC must start now to spend his department’s budget funding to address these challenges. There is no more time to play mind games and gamble with people’s lives.
In seeking sensible and lasting solutions, we must consciously ask ourselves the question: as to what is the root cause of the alleged bad attitude and other challenges and what has the department done in trying to address the underlying problems. Through self-introspection medical practitioners have come to see bad attitude, if it exists at all, as a manifestation of deep problems within the healthcare system which inevitably frustrate the workforce. Such include amongst others, poor working conditions in the form of understaffing, lack of equipment and surgical consumables, and bad infrastructure. Poor management and leadership at all levels is a common denominator in the majority of cases,” continued Mrs Nkwanyana.
“We therefore call upon the political head of the department to seriously look into the aforementioned issues and deal with them in a speedy and frank manner, with the aim of restoring the confidence of medical practitioners in the management of the department at all levels.
Given the aforementioned failures of the Department of Health in KZN, coupled with lack of consequential management for those who work hard to make the stay of medical practitioners and other healthcare professionals an unpleasant one, it must be noted that medical practitioners in KZN have lost confidence in the Department of Health and in particular the MEC of Health, Dr Sbongiseni Dhlomo.
Failing which, and if there are any deaths in hospitals due to the aforementioned problems, he must be prepared to accept complete responsibility.
We also urge medical staff to be responsible in the conduct of their duties. While they have every right to legally protest, they must remember they provide a critical service and that any action they take must never compromise a life. This must not be misconstrued as diminishing the importance of their needs,” concluded Mrs Nkwanyana.
The IFP urges the KZN Premier, Willies Mchunu to stand up and break his silence on the failure by the Department of Health to address challenges facing our public institutions. He must show bold leadership against the MEC of Health to make him to account for his failures. Our people are suffering in public healthcare facilities due to this but the Premier is silent.
Mrs Ncamisile Nkwanyana MPL
IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson on Health
078 302 3991