Eastern Cape hospitals refurbishment project under way

SABC News Oscar Mabuyane - Eastern Cape hospitals refurbishment project under way

Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane says government is working hard to address infrastructure challenges at various hospitals across the province. During her visit to some hospitals in the province two weeks ago, Deputy Public Protector, Kholeka Gcaleka,  described the conditions as deplorable. She said this was hindering the delivery of efficient services.

Mabuyane addressed the media at Sir Henry Elliot Hospital in Mthatha today

Hospitals to be revamped

Earlier this month, Gcaleka visited hospitals in the Nelson Mandela Metro and the OR Tambo districts to get a firsthand experience of the reported working conditions in those facilities. One of the hospitals she visited in the OR Tambo area is the Sulenkama’s Nessie Knight Hospital in Qumbu.

She confirmed that aging infrastructure, lack of resources, a high vacancy rate and a shortage of staff were impacting negatively on the delivery of quality health care services.

Premier Oscar Mabuyane says they have set aside millions of rands towards revamping these hospitals.

“As the leadership, we are elected to find solutions to the challenges of our people. Thus, we had to reprioritise the budget within the administration to raise funds for the refurbishment of our health care facilities. We identified a total of 86 refurbishment projects across all six districts and two metros with a combined value of R594 million, which will guarantee us 2458 COVID-19 beds.”

Premier Mabuyane has commended health workers for their contribution during the COVID-19 pandemic: 

Work in progress

Public Works and Infrastructure MEC Babalo Madikizela says by October, work in these hospitals will have been completed.  “The infrastructure revamps, the last batch of projects will be finished just before the end of October. So the beds that are currently over-utilised will be added by the new beds that we’re finishing. So from where we are seated, we will be fine.”

Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba says they are also looking at addressing the high vacancy rate and management instability at various hospitals.

“The issue of the high vacancy rate in terms of hospitals, in particular, acting CEOs is also one part that the premier did address, that we have looked into how our hospitals are operating, the status of our own hospitals, the importance of getting the right people as CEOs in our hospitals. You’ll all recall that the employment of the staff is always according to the level and delegations. But we have now actually made it a point that we have an interest in the CEOs that are actually employed in our hospitals. So soon that’s going to be a thing of the past.”

Premier Mabuyane has also warned alcohol and tobacco users to drink and smoke responsibly to avoid spreading the virus, as the country has moved to lockdown level two.

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