Patient care at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital has suffered because unpaid suppliers have refused to supply critical instruments, including spinal needles, epidural sets and central venous catheters.
According to a written reply by Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko to my ques in the Gauteng Legislature, the shortages affected patient care in the last six months as follows:
• Delays in resuscitation and administering ﬂuids timeously, especially to critically ill patients.
• Risk of acquired hospital infections.
• Compromised patient care standards.
• Delays and postponement of theatre cases affecting theatre efﬁciency.
• Prolonged waiting time for surgery.
The MEC says “alternative products were not of the equivalent standard required at a tertiary hospital.“
An astounding 2675 suppliers to the hospital are owed R276 million for more than a year.
The non-payments are not the fault of the hospital but “due to cash flow issues within the Gauteng Department of Health the supplier has put the facilities account on hold until all outstanding invoices are included in the payment run.”
The financial mismanagement of this department is an ongoing scandal that seriously affects treatment at the hospital.
Why should patients suffer because many suppliers are owed huge amounts for more than a year?
Compare this to the Western Cape Health Department which pays most of its suppliers within 15 days.
A top management shake-up is needed to ensure that competent people are brought in to clear the backlog of payments and pay all suppliers within the legally required 30-day period.