Today's Labour News

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medicaldoctorGroundUp reports that health workers at Groote Schuur Hospital and Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town are starting to feel the effects of an ongoing freeze on the hiring of critical medical staff.

According to senior officials at these hospitals, the situation has reached a point where managers are struggling to fill shift rosters. An impact on patient care and waiting times is said to be inevitable. According to a senior hospital manager at Groote Schuur, almost half of medical officer (doctor) posts in the medicine department are vacant, in addition to hundreds of other nursing and operational posts. A senior official at Red Cross indicated that “critical medical posts” are being left vacant, including medical officer, registrar (doctors in training for a speciality), and specialist posts. At the start of 2023, large cuts were made to the conditional grants that fund these hospitals. And then in the middle of the year, National Treasury announced significant austerity measures. In August last year, a letter by National Treasury to provincial governments recommended several “cost containment” measures for the 2023/24 financial year and suggested a freeze on hiring of new employees. Each province’s health department is dealing with the “cost containment” measures in different ways. In the Eastern Cape, for example, hiring freezes have been implemented but not for clinical staff. According to hospital officials at Groote Schuur and Red Cross, there has been a lack of clarity from the provincial department on how long hiring freezes will last and whether there will be a permanent reduction in medical posts.

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Daniel Steyn at GroundUp

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