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On Tuesday, the Western Cape Health MEC, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, tabled the 2019/2020 Budget for the Department of Health before Provincial Parliament.

Health receives the biggest slice of the provincial budget, which amounts to over R 24 billion; 37% of the total provincial budget for 2019/2020.

Mbombo stated that this demonstrates how serious this Province is about healthcare delivery. Investing in health and health services is not only a human rights obligation, but indirectly a benefit to all the people in this country.

The demand for healthcare continues to grow and this is unlikely to change in the short-term given the trends in the social determinants of health and wellbeing, she said.

“Rendering a health service is about interacting with a person at vulnerable moments when in need of care from another human being. It is a privilege for our health workers to be of service to the people of this province and it will never be taken for granted. It is for this reason that, for some of us this is not just a tick box exercise of meeting APP targets, but it is about going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure we preserve patient dignity.”

The Western Cape Health Department said they have identified five key elements that really highlights the lengths and depth thiey will go through to deliver a service despite the challenging environment it operates within:

  • MEAP (Management Efficiency and Alignment Project)

This model of re-design of organizational efficiency and alignment aims to make the organization leaner and strengthen service delivery. Critically MEAP is mainly about changing the way the Department functions, how teams support a culture of continuous collaboration, learning and growth, and values driven leadership across the whole system.

With MEAP, the we achieve a 10% cost saving which we can plough into other programmes to ensure we continue providing a high quality service.

  • Innovation

Technology as part of our innovation is a key enabler in doing business unusual. We are the only province to digitize patient records across all our facilities. We have also implemented several key initiatives to reduce waiting times at facilities; theatres and Emergency Centres.

  • Public Private Partnerships

This is key in our mission to preserve patient dignity. We have entered into several partnerships that have allowed us to provide access to much needed health services. We have had great success with private partners for family planning services, access to healthcare for farmworkers and assisting vulnerable patients through providing operations as part of Madiba Day.

  • Infrastructure

We delivered world class infrastructure projects in partnership with the Department of Transport and Public Works, and continue to maintain clean and functional infrastructure. Infrastructure projects contribute to improved access to healthcare in the province. Every single cent of the over R4 billion we spent over the past 10years on capital infrastructure, and R2 billion on maintenance, benefitted the people of this province.

For the coming financial year, we have earmarked the following infrastructure projects as part of our investment, amounting to R1.2 billion.

The construction of Gansbaai Clinic, Laingsburg Clinic, Caledon EMS communication centre, Victoria Hospital EC, Swartland Hospital EC, Helderberg Hospital EC and Observatory FPL is underway. De Doorns Ambulance station, Klipfontein Regional Hospital (in phase 3 of the project where service provider has been appointed), the new Avian Park Clinic and Psych capacity at Eerste River Hospital, Khayelitsha Hospital, and New Somerset Hospital are all in the planning phase.

  • Human Resources

R135 million has formally been allocated to the Department for 2019/20 for the Human Resources Capacitation Grant. We have appointed community service medical officers, medical interns, and are in the process to fill other critical staff at health facilities to ease service load pressures.

I have also promised the appointment of additional FPS officers to relieve the pressure in this service. I can report that we are appointing 2 additional specialists, 6 Forensic Pathology Officers, and have increased Forensic assistant interns from 9 in 2017/18 to 50 in 2019/20).