NEWS & ANALYSIS

Gauteng DoH to overspend by R700m - Jack Bloom

DA MPL says if dept was a private company it would be declared bankrupt

GAUTENG HEALTH TO OVERSPEND BY R700 MILLION BUT DEBTS STILL NOT PAID

The Gauteng Health Department is projected to overspend this year by about R700 million, but will still be more than R2 billion in debt to suppliers.

This is according to a presentation by the Department yesterday at a meeting of the Gauteng Health Committee.

The Department expects to spend R42.6 billion, which is R2.4 billion more than the budget tabled earlier this year but is assisted by the extra R1.7 billion in the adjustment budget tabled yesterday by Finance MEC Barbara Creecy.

I welcome the R1.23 billion that Creecy specifically allocated for goods and services, but this is inadequate to bring down the total accrued debt of R3.7 billion.

It was claimed that the R700 million overspend would be financed by efficiency savings, but I am skeptical that this will be achieved.

The Department estimates that treating foreign patients costs R160 million, and has sent bills to foreign embassies to try and recover this money.

R94 million is owed by Limpopo, North West and Mpumulanga provinces for treating their patients and a whopping R2.7 billion from universities for the funding of joint health appointments.

The Department says that the universities owe this money in terms of a memorandum of agreement signed three years ago which stipulated that they were liable for 30% of the costs of joint medical posts at the academic hospitals.

I am astounded that the Department is only claiming this money now, and is unlikely to get anything because of the universities' huge financial strain.

My assessment is that if the Department was a private company it would be declared bankrupt.

It is kept afloat only because unpaid suppliers have not been able to force payment despite regular visits by the Sheriff of the court to attach furniture at the Department's head office.

I expect more crises as more unpaid companies stop supplying critical goods and services to hospitals.

Statement issued by Jack Bloom MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC, 17 November 2017