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The Portfolio Committee on Health is conducting hearings with provincial departments of health, following the release of the report by the Office of Health Standards Compliance (OHSC) on the annual inspection report for the 2016/17 financial year.

In briefing the committee on its findings, the OHSC said 696 routine inspections were conducted, surpassing the 649 undertaken during the 2016/17 financial year. All inspections undertaken are unannounced.

Appearing before the portfolio committee this week, the head of the Mpumalanga provincial Department of Heath, Dr Savera Mohangi, told members that none of the province’s 33 hospitals is fully complaint with national core standards. Nonetheless, there has been a gradual improvement, despite the ongoing attacks on community nurses that are undermining health service provision. To address this problem, armed guards have been deployed it health establishments.

Dr Mohangi told the committee that the province is battling to attract specialist doctors and relies on health services in Gauteng for the provision of complex specialist services and also more routine specialist services that are simply not available due to staff shortages.

Responding to her presentation, committee member Dr Patrick Maesela advised the department to compare the reports of the Auditor-General and the OHSC. “My advice is to look into the report by the Auditor-General and the OHSC. Study the two documents in light of what you have presented today. The two will guide you on what you are doing wrong and what you are doing right. The two documents do not agree with what you have given us today,” he said.

Another committee member, Ms Lindy Wilson, said that the OHSC findings on the status of health in Mpumulanga painted an alarming picture.

Other committee members said Mpumulanga’s health department must deal with its challenges with accruals and also with irregular expenditure, which amounts to R3.3 billion. Dr Maesela emphasised that consequences for wrongdoing were necessary, so that “you don’t repeat the same things”.

Responding to these statements, Dr Mohangi said that while she was not criticising the OHSC report, it was not a true reflection of all the health institutions in the province.

Yoliswa Landu
13 June 2018