KZN health MEC Sibongiseni 
Dhlomo. Picture: Gcina Dwalane
DURBAN - The Department of Health has started a process of recruiting retired medical practitioners back into the system to mentor younger staff.

Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo said the department had already met the committee for retired health professionals and an agreement had been reached for a workshop that would be held next month.

“Our quest is to sustain and maintain the highest standard of nursing care and ensure that nurses continue to serve as patient advocates,” said Dhlomo.

The programme is intended to ensure that the department retains skills among the nursing staff.

Dhlomo was at the legislature in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday to present his department’s budget of R39.5billion.

He also announced that former health head Professor Ronald Green-Thompson would return to the department as his adviser. Green-Thompson was the head of the department between 1995 and 2005 and Dhlomo hoped to use his skills as a specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist.

Dhlomo had said the department was facing challenges in filling the vacant post because of financial constraints.

The South African Medical Association (Sama) had criticised the department for failing to fill the post, saying this had resulted in the shortage of specialists and led to patients’ dignity being compromised daily.

“We are alarmed by the provincial health decision to change the conditions of employment of doctors by freezing critical posts, creating unfunded posts, keeping some doctors unemployed and introducing a commuted overtime policy without adequate consultation,” said Sama chairperson Mvuyisi Mzukwa.

Dhlomo said there was not a single doctor who was unemployed except those who had refused to be deployed to rural healthcare facilities. “When people are retiring or resigning they are not replaced because of the budget shortage,” said Dhlomo.

Daily News