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Health Budget must protect hospital and clinic allocations

The Eastern Cape Health Department needs to drastically cut its obscenely bloated non-medical staff cohort and protect the operational budgets of district, provincial and tertiary hospitals.

This is the only way the Department will be able to improve its financial prospects for the 2022/2023 financial year and ensure that hospitals function effectively.

Last year it was revealed that R3,57 billion was spent on non-medical officials, while just R1,56 billion was spent on Goods and Services, which includes the provision of medical equipment, theatre equipment, orthopaedic equipment, medication, oxygen and soft services such as food, linen and security, to hospitals and clinics.

“The Eastern Cape Department of Health has become an employment agency for the politically connected, with the provision of health services becoming secondary.

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The Department currently carries outstanding accruals and payables of R4,4 billion, making it very clear that the Goods and Services budget is woefully inadequate<” said Jane Cowley, the DA Shadow MEC for Health in the Eastern Cape.

Even more damning is that, throughout the year, money is siphoned off from hospital operational budgets to settle ever growing medico-legal claims.

Instead of curtailing non-essential expenditure, and redirecting funding to prioritise critical vacancies for specialists, doctors and nurses, the Department continues appointing non-medical health officials, many of them millionaire managers.

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