Delivery companies blamed for medication shortage

MEC Qedani Mahlangu says companies contracted to deliver medication are to blame for delays.

FILE: Medication. Picture: Irin news

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu says shortages of medication and equipment at the province's hospitals are a result of suppliers not having the capacity to deliver what is required.

Hundreds of patients have been forced to return home without getting scheduled medication while some non-urgent procedures have been postponed.

The shortages have been attributed to incompetent suppliers and Mahlangu says this is also due to a three month period in which new companies need to stock up on what's required.

She says the suppliers are not up to the task.

"The major problem has been the inability of companies that have been contracted to deliver the volumes and I need to underline the word "volumes" because they're delivering in small portions."

STAFF SHORTAGE

Meanwhile, a legislature reply has revealed 70 staff members left the Tembisa Hospital in the past year.

Twenty-one doctors and 31 nurses are among the staff contingent that were either dismissed or resigned this year, raising the number of vacant paid-for posts to 90.

Earlier this year, two Johannesburg hospitals postponed non-urgent procedures due to the shortages.

The Democratic Alliance (DA)'s shadow health minister, Jack Bloom, says the current ratio of nurses per Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patient is distressing.

"I am definitely concerned about the situation; in the ICU you're supposed to have one nurse per ICU bed. But at the moment you have one nurse who has to look after two or three ICU beds. Clearly lives can be lost in this situation."