Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sugar, we're going down

I received an e-mail from the South African Medical Association yesterday. As some of you may know from reading Bongi's posts on the matter, Mpumalanga health is in crisis. I read a related article recently, but the real reasons are in this e-mail:

Media Release:

SAMA speaks out on Mpumalanga Hospital closure


29 January 2008


None, Immediate Release

The South African Medical Association expresses its grave concern about the closure of emergency services at hospitals in the Mpumalanga Province.

Reports have been received that Bethal, Standerton, Secunda and Ermelo Hospitals – all district hospitals, have shut down after-hour emergency services due to shortage of medical officers. In addition, the Rob–Ferreira Hospital in Nelspruit, which is classified as a provincial hospital and referral hospital for the above hospitals, has closed its maternity ward and is not admitting new patients after hours since 25 January 2008.

Of great concern is that patient care is compromised when interns who have to work under the supervision of a medical officer in a hospital, are now expected to work without such supervision. This problem has emerged as a result of the two-year internship programme which was introduced in 2006, as opposed to the previous one-year internship programme. It has therefore created a gap in the provision of Community Service doctors who normally fill posts of medical officers in peripheral hospitals when they complete their internship.

The Provincial Department states that they do not currently have the budget to finance additional overtime for doctors, and that funds will be made available when the new financial year starts on 1 April 2008.

In 2007 the South African Medical Association made suggestions to the Department on the envisaged shortage of medical officers for 2008. They were very receptive to the suggestions and advised different provinces to implement them to avert a crisis. However, some provinces such as Mpumalanga have not, and hence the problems that they are currently experiencing.

SAMA urges the Mpumalanga Department of Health to engage urgently with medical officers in the affected hospitals to ensure continuity of patient care, as well as considering the utilisation of additional capacity from doctors in the private sector who are prepared to assist in containing this crisis. We would like to urgently meet with the Mpumalanga Department of Health regarding these issues.

Issued by the SAMA Corporate Communications Department to the South African media on 29 January 2008
Corporate Communications Manager - SAMA


Amanzi Down Under said...

I sometimes feel guilty for having jumped ship, so soon after community service. What's that old saying - "it's the rats that leave the sinking ship first..." Or something like that..
Anyway, the guilt is fleeting, when you realize that the problems are due to a short-sighted government.

Bongi said...

i'm greatly encouraged by this post. for the first time the stupid government actually acknowledged their problems. maybe the moron mbeki's recent fall is already paying dividends. to acknowledge a problem is the first step to cure.

amanzi down under, to not "jump ship" is to empower them in their stupidity. help where you can, but don't cover their ineptitude. the ship has already sunk, so you did not jump before it sunk. don't feel bad.

amanzimtoti said...

bongi, the government hasn't acknowledged that anything is their fault - this press release was by the South African Medical Association. The government claims that it doesn't have the budget to finance extra overtime for doctors. This is despite the fact that the province has only 50 community service doctors this year compared to 144 last year. The MEC for health claims doctors have left the province "not because of their salary packages, but because of the high cost of accommodation in the province and the unavailability of a university where they can further their studies".

ExMi said...

just discovered your blog...

loving it - especially the last post about ridiculous complaints!

amanzimtoti said...

mistakes - thanx

Randolph said...

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