LISTEN: KZN Health MEC gives under-performing hospital managers a tongue-lashing
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Durban - KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu issued a stark warning to under-performing public hospital and clinic managers on Thursday: shape up or ship out.
According to a statement issued by the KZN Health department, Simelane-Zulu said that the days of health facility managers, clinicians and health district leaders who are failing to manage, or who commit costly yet avoidable mistakes, with impunity, will soon be over.
The department said while the vast majority of healthcare professionals and managers are dedicated to their jobs, the MEC said that time is up for the minority “bad apples” at clinical and management level who were sullying the good name of the Department.
She wants stern action against those responsible for unnecessary loss of life and/or limb, which results in much pain and suffering - and an escalated medico-legal bill for the department – instead of taking decisions that will save lives, fix challenges, and improve service delivery.
According to the most recent figures, the KZN Health Department was facing more than R18.5billion in medical negligence claims.
KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu issued a stark warning to underperforming public hospital and clinic managers on Thursday: shape up or ship out. Supplied
The SA Human Rights Commission chairperson Bongani Majola during a recent tour of health facilities in the province found staff shortages and old, dilapidated infrastructure at some KwaZulu-Natal hospitals and a clinic.
Addressing senior hospital managers, Simelane-Zulu in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday, Simelane-Zulu said: “You are paid to manage, and we expect you to manage. It’s about time we started looking at management seriously. Some of the reasons why our facilities are in such a bad state, and our people are not getting proper care... besides our own (real) challenges... is the fact that managers that we put in office don’t actually manage. So, we are going to insist that managers must manage, and we are going to insist on consequences. If there are no consequences, it means you as the CEO or district manager will suffer for it, because when there are (bad) things that happen and it’s a management of issue and you have no acted on it, I will expect the district manager and the head of department to act on you".
Simelane-Zulu made the remarks while handing over of a rejuvenated neonatal high-care ward at Edendale Hospital.
Simelane-Zulu said that with better, more hands-on management, the department’s massive medico-legal bill would not have sky-rocketed.
The department said she now wants to halt the runaway medico-legal bill, and immediately establish a new culture of effective and accountable leadership in the Department.
“As a CEO, you are the manager, you are leading the facility. We need to start managing in a manner that says you’re not managing friends. When you go to the private sector they will tell you... They take management very seriously. And consequences in the private sector are very quick. But because we are in the public sector we think our people ‘understand’... So, we don’t act when people do the wrong thing.
"For instance, we have a number of medico-legal cases... Some are because of touting, and because of people who are taking the Department for a ride. But others are as a result of negligence of our own medical officers. We are going to start acting on those. While we’ll be paying a lot of money to whoever we need to pay, because it’s a responsibility that we have, we are going to act on the medical people who actually have been negligent, if they have been found to have been so.
"Right now, while we pay, we also institute our own investigation.”