Mpumalanga health department criticised for scrapping 13 000 jobs

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AT THE RESERVING END: With an increasing number of unemployed healthworkers, patients will suffer in long queues when Govt abolishes posts. PICTURE BY Health.gov

A national government drive to reduce public expenditure across the country has landed a Mpumalanga department in fire.

This week Mpumalanga health MEC Gillion Mashego was scrutinised for scrapping 12 836 vacancies in the provincial healthcare centres as part of government’s efforts to reduce a public service wage bill that “is far above the norm”.

The SABC said scrapping more than 12 000 jobs spelled a potential health crises in the province.

“The move has exerted immense pressure on the province’s ailing healthcare with some healthcare centres operating with less than 50% of the workforce,” the SABC reported. “A situation which could put the lives of patients at risk,” it reported last night.

“With a staggering number of unemployed healthcare workers, patients are the biggest losers”.

The state broadcaster then interviewed the uncle of a teenage girl who died in labour this week Monday and said was due to staff shortages.

“The nurse that works there told us she can’t help us as she is alone and not a midwife,” the 17-year-old girl’s uncle, Archie Mashego, told the SABC last and said they were forced to wait in the queue for four hours but then the girl died afterwards together with her baby.

“The family blames the department for their loss,” the SABC said.

Officials of the opposition DA said they were also concerned about government’s high public service bill but said scrapping 12 836 jobs signified a poor decision making on MEC Mashego’s part.

READ ALSO: DA slams Mabuza for not firing Health MEC

“This is bizarre considering that the healthcare already suffers debilitating staff shortages,” the party’s Jane Sithole said in a statement.

She said of the 12 836 abolished posts only 3 120 were payed for by the department and scrapping these “will undoubtedly create a huge burden for the remaining staff members who will be overworked to make up for the staff loses”.

“Mashego must do the right thing and step down, our people need a caring government,” Sithole said and later on she blamed, on SABC, the lack of accountability on the part of officials, saying more than 3 000 of the 12 836 vacancies were funded posts and wanted to know what happened to the money.

Mpumalanga health director Jabulani Nkosi said not only the health department followed the directive from the top but an instruction was issued to all departments to cut costs by abolishing.

(edited by MLM)

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