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Johannesburg - The Gauteng health department has made little progress in fixing deficiencies identified by the Auditor-General, the main national opposition Democratic Alliance said on Tuesday.

In a speech delivered during debate on the provincial health department's annual report, DA shadow member of the executive committee for heath in Gauteng, Jack Bloom, said it showed "dismal failure" with only 43 percent of targets achieved.

He noted that according to the Auditor-General the department had not taken effective and appropriate steps to prevent an irregular expenditure of R1.7 billion and fruitless and wasteful expenditure of R38 million and that no disciplinary steps were taken against implicated officials.

"Year after year, we hear that the department is going to be turned around, but we still don’t have a clean audit report," Bloom said.

He said the provincial audit committee had reported in July that compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act was still a significant problem as most institutions did not have dedicated occupational health officers.”

Furthermore “facilities are at risk of non-compliance with the National Building Regulations and there is a direct impact on the spread of disease especially in isolation wards and theatres".

The audit committee had also voiced its dissatisfaction with progress made in implementing the province's disaster recovery plan and business continuity plan, said Bloom.

"Tragically, their warnings were not followed as disaster did strike with the fire at the Bank of Lisbon building which led to the deaths of three firefighters," he said.

"We have also seen the deaths of six babies from antibiotic-resistant Klebsiella at the Thelle Mogoerane Hospital and 9 babies died at Rahima Moosa Hospital from Necrotising Enterocolitis."

"I hope that occupational safety and hygiene risks are tackled effectively at our hospitals and clinics to avoid more disasters," Bloom added.

African News Agency (ANA)