Durban – KwaZulu-Natal premier Willies Mchunu announced on Thursday that provincial planning commissioner, Professor Ronald Green-Thompson, had been assigned to “turn around the situation in the Department of Health”.
Mchunu said that Green-Thompson would focus on ensuring “solid health and financial management to improve health outcomes”.
“He will work with senior management and the team from the treasury that was assigned to deal with delays associated with the procurement of medical equipment including other medical goods and services required to provide quality patient care in various hospitals,” Mchunu said.
A damning report by the South African Human Rights Commission found that the health department had failed its cancer patients. The failure was linked to broken radiation machines, CT and MRI scanners, as well as the failure to recruit and retain specialists within the department.
Injection into infrastructure
According to Mchunu, the government had resolved to improve health infrastructure.
“Prof Green-Thompson and the management team will accelerate interventions focusing on the reconstruction of dilapidated hospitals and building of new hospitals and clinics. KZN government as announced early this year  has set aside R1.4bn for this work.”
He also said Green-Thompson would “strengthen human resource management including recruitment processes to deal with the shortage of health professionals and clinicians in particular”.
“Critically, we have agreed that as part of ensuring the quality of care, we need to pay urgent attention to cleanliness and courteous services to the patients. We have also set targets in terms of ensuring the availability of medication and the reduction of patient waiting times.
‘Wealth of experience’
According to Mchunu, Green-Thompson was a former head of the department in government and was “highly qualified to ensure a sustained provision of quality healthcare in all public health institutions”.
“Prof Green-Thompson is a seasoned administrator who once served in the task team that was appointed by the national Health Minister Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi. This task team identified and addressed challenges faced by public health institutions in different parts of the country.”
There have been several calls for MEC for Health Dr. Sibongiseni Dhlomo to be fired. Mchunu previously announced that provincial Treasury had taken over the administration of procurement at the failing provincial health department.
“Provincial Treasury will be making a Section 18 intervention in terms of the Public Finance Management Act to temporarily control the supply chain management function in the [provincial health] department until such time as the necessary financial management controls are in place.”
Article by news24