The Gauteng Department of Health is adequately funded and the main issue it should address is planning.
This is the view of Ncumisa Mnyani, Department Chief of the Gauteng Department of Finance, who is at the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) made a presentation Monday.
The Commission held a meeting with the Ministries of Health, Infrastructure Development and Finance as part of its oversight of the health system.
” We give you what you can spend. The key issue is planning. Planning is very important and they [the health department] are lagging behind,” Mnyani said.
Previously, the commission had heard that the health department’s maintenance budget was underfunded, but the treasury painted a very different picture.
Mncedisi Vilakazi gave a presentation on behalf of the Ministry of Finance and said the Ministry of Health’s financial statements and analysis of its spending show that the Ministry is unable to manage spending in areas such as:
- Compensations to be made by employees (medical professionals);
- Goods and services (core service items); and
- Infrastructure (maintenance, rehabilitation and new projects).
“The trends show that despite the significant budgets allocated to the Gauteng Health Department, the actual Expenditure was lower, resulting in underspending.
“The term and basis for possible underfunding may not be valid as Gauteng Health is unable to spend all of its allocated budgets. Instead, there should be more focus on tackling all factors and causes of underspending,” Vilakazi said said that given the resources available, the department should be better at serving the people of Gauteng.
Dr. Nomonde Nolutshungu, head of Gauteng’s health department, said the department’s biggest challenge is medico-legal claims. She said these took up most of the department’s budget and she found it difficult to sign an application form to comply with a court order.
“One wonders if this reflects the quality of care in our facilities or when a new element creeps in, which is mainly the case with neonatal cases,” she said.
Nolutshungu said the department is closely investigating the cases to see if the causes are skill-related or due to equipment issues.
The three departments have committed to meeting more frequently to see how they can better address the challenges the health department is facing.Buang Jones, SAHRC provincial leader, said most of the things mentioned during the presentation were historical, but the commission was encouraged to see the commitment to facing the challenges
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