Pretoria - All vacancies in the Gauteng Department of Health are being prioritised and will be filled as soon as possible.
The vacancies, which include those of hospital chief executives and other senior officials, are due to people resigning and going for greener pastures, or retirement.
Saying they were being prioritised to be filled soon, spokesperson Motalatale Modiba said: “Already the recruitment process is currently under way. Posts have been advertised towards the end of April, and we hope to fill the vacancies within this first quarter of the financial year.”
He said with the case with the CEOs of Steve Biko and Dr George Mukhari, they had left for greener pastures, and this left the academic hospitals without leadership.
The two are among six Gauteng hospitals without full time chief executives, others being due to expired contracts, resignations, internal transfers, and retirement.
Health MEC Nomanto Nkomo-Ralehoko told the legislature last month, that Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital, Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital, Kopanong Hospital, South Rand Hospital and the Tara Mouros Hospital all had no permanent heads; while the positions at the Kopanong and South Rand Hospitals had been vacant since February and April 2022, respectively.
An acting CEO was only appointed at Kopanong on March 27 this year, and an appointment was made at South Rand in March.
According to Nkomo-Ralehoko both positions had only been advertised on April 23 2023.
CEOs at Tembisa hospital and the Pretoria West Hospital are currently suspended pending disciplinary hearings, and at Tembisa hospital, Ashley Mthunzi was placed on precautionary suspension after he allegedly irregularly spent R500 000.
At Pretoria West hospital the suspended CEO has not been charged.
The FF Plus in the province said that the lack of permanent CEOs was one of the reasons there was poor service delivery.
FF plus member of legislature Amanda de Lange said: “The blame for the reckless conduct of provincial hospitals’ management must be laid at the door of the MEC and the Department of Health. The situation will inevitably lead to poorer service and more legal claims.”
She said the provincial government was negligent and had implemented a policy for patients who lodged claims to continue to receive treatment rather than having damages paid out to them.
“This policy recently suffered a blow with a judgement by the Bloemfontein Court of Appeal, which ruled that it is not a foregone conclusion that all cases of medical negligence can be handled in this way.
“In this specific case, the court found that damages must be paid to the claimant because state hospitals are not able to provide the complex medical care that the claimant needs.”
She said the judgement showed that provincial hospitals in Gauteng could not function without expert leadership.
“The FF Plus will follow up on the matter of inadequate leadership to ensure that provincial hospitals start functioning better,” de Lange said.