Plan gets under way to address staffing shortages at Northern Cape hospitals

During his inaugural address, the province’s Premier Zamani Saul identified public healthcare as one of government’s priorities that will undergo a shake-up.

Picture: Unsplash.com

CAPE TOWN - The state of public healthcare in the Northern Cape is in sharp focus as leaders look to improve the flawed sector.

During his inaugural address, the province’s Premier Zamani Saul identified public healthcare as one of government’s priorities that will undergo a shake-up.

In recent years, public healthcare in the region has been dominated by acute staff shortages and overcrowded facilities.

The provincial health department says 10% of the posts in the Northern Cape’s public healthcare sector are vacant.

This, coupled with other challenges such as not having enough ambulances and overcrowding at some hospitals and clinics, frustrates patients.

Officials say in the past feedback from some managers on the ground did not reflect the true state of affairs.

Newly appointed Health MEC Mase Manopole is now embarking on oversight visits to facilities to grasp the extent of the problems and to come up with solutions.

“We have to develop a plan, an HR plan, to be able to take forward and address the staffing issues. We want to ensure that we optimise, and we make our primary healthcare efficient.”

Stats SA says the Northern Cape was the top healthcare spender per person in the 2015/16 financial year at just over R4,000 on average.

About 82 out of 100 South Africans do not have medical aid cover and rely on the public healthcare sector.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)