Today's Labour News

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healthcareThe Citizen reports that the Northern Cape is facing a healthcare crisis, with its hospitals and clinics battling acute shortages of staff, medicines and ambulances.  

The majority of the province’s public facilities are unable to cope with multitudes of patients at overcrowded institutions, while the shortage of ambulances has exacerbated the situation at all hospitals.  The vacancy rate for professionals – which includes doctors, nurses, pharmacists and physiotherapists – is estimated at between 70% and 75% in the province, with even the new, state-of-the-art hospitals in Upington and De Aar running on what some called “skeleton” staff.  The health department is believed to have no money to pay higher salaries to attract doctors and nurses from other parts of the country.  Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe Hospital in Kimberley, a referral facility, is unable to cope with the demand for specialist services and has to make transfers for operations and chronic cases to Bloemfontein.  An official described the shortage of medical staff as “historical” due to the fact that vacancies remained unfilled for a number of years.  He said many posts had had acting staff for between three and four years without permanent appointments, mainly due to lack of funds and unavailability of professionals to come and work in the province.  Some of those acting had refused to carry on in those posts because the provincial health department was not paying them the acting allowances.  They were also overworked because of the shortage of staff.

  • Read the full original report by Eric Naki at The Citizen

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