More than 140 vacancies needed to be filled at Durban’s ailing Addington Hospital, where officials were battling to find suitable candidates for some posts, the KwaZulu-Natal parliamentary health portfolio committee heard on Tuesday.
In the meantime, several senior managers of the KZN Department of Health, and staff from other hospitals, have been deployed to Addington.
The department said it had appointed about 20 medical staff as well as 36 medical interns, two pharmacist interns, five radiographers, 30 community service professional nurses, five professional nurses, two dietitian and one speech therapist.
There were still 143 vacancies that needed to be filled.
The department noted in a report tabled at the committee meeting at the provincial legislature that the negative publicity attracted by Addington in recent months had made it difficult to fill some of the critical positions.
The beleaguered hospital was dealt a blow in October when its newly appointed chief executive, Dr Kobus Kotze, quit just three days after he had been appointed.
Thabisile Sakyi – a clinical and programmes manager at Zululand district – has since been appointed acting chief executive officer.
The report by the department’s hospital services manager, Thokozani Mhlongo, revealed that a pharmacy manager had been deployed to help with the management of the hospital’s pharmacy and two other senior officials had been deployed from its supply chain management office to help with procurement and stores.
said there had been an improvement in drug availability since the deployment of the pharmacy manager.
And while the post of senior medical manager was expected to be advertised this month, a manager from Chatsworth’s RK Khan Hospital had been deployed to act in the position, Mhlongo added.
The report said an acting nursing manager had been appointed to the position, but that the department was having trouble filling the post of engineer.
The post has been advertised three times with no suitable candidate found.
Head office has deployed a mechanical engineer to work part-time at the hospital.
The hospital had also bought additional linen, which included 100 bed sheets, 500 pillow cases as well as adult gowns and pyjamas, the committee was informed.
Of the R680 million allocated to the hospital for the current financial year, the department said about R560m (82 percent) had been spent by last month.
According to the report a further R30m had been allocated for new equipment during the next financial year, which begins next month.
Meanwhile some services have been temporarily relocated to neighbouring hospitals for the duration of the upgrade and remedial work being done at the hospital.
These include obstetrics and gynaecology (relocated to King Dinuzulu Hospital), and orthopaedics and surgery (relocated to Wentworth Hospital).