Get IOL's cool new iPad app...
Johannesburg - Gauteng was acting to pay outstanding debts to suppliers, but problems still existed, the SA Medical Device Industry Association (Samed) said on Monday.
“About half of the amount outstanding to medical technology suppliers in October of last year has now been paid, but that still leaves millions outstanding,” the association said in a statement.
Chief operating officer Tanya Vogt disputed a statement by Gauteng health MEC Hope Papo that his department had paid 99
percent of the debt owed to suppliers.
“In October Samed members were owed R310 million. That is now down to just over R156 million.”
The worrying aspect was the MEC probably did not know that this huge amount was outstanding due to dysfunctional hospitals not processing billings.
“The non-profit organisation Section 27 found widespread and serious problems in the Gauteng health system. Our members can corroborate what they found,” Vogt said.
“The MEC has not denied this, but pointed out that serious work is underway to improve the system.”
The association had noted his approach with approval, as Papo sought to eradicate short-comings rather than denying problems existed. The problems however did not just extend to lack of medical staff, supplies, medicine access, and maintenance of equipment and infrastructure.
Vogt said another real concern was weak administrative capacity, which had knock-on effects, such as late ordering of all forms of supplies and poor handling of billing.
With efforts being made at a provincial and national level to improve the situation, role players including Samed welcomed the introduction of stricter controls.
“Better management is really what the health system needs. This is now being addressed and Samed will be happy to help wherever the health department thinks we can assist,” said Vogt. - Sapa