North West Health Slashes R6 Million Per Month On Hotels For Intern Doctors

PICTURE: UW Medicine

POTCHEFSTROOM: This was revealed during an oversight meeting held in Potchefstroom by the Committee on Health and Social Development on Tuesday.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) was shocked to learn that the North West Health Department is paying R6 million per month for accommodation for health practitioners at Potchefstroom Hospital. This exorbitant expenditure has been going on since 2016.

This was revealed during an oversight meeting held in Potchefstroom by the Committee on Health and Social Development on Tuesday.

During this meeting, the Committee was informed that, due to the absence of proper hospital-based accommodation for health practitioners, the management of the hospital is compelled to pay for the intern doctors to stay in hotels. This money is utilised from other line items from the hospital’s budget.

In reply to a question by the DA on the number of intern doctors accommodated by the Potchefstroom Hospital, the Committee could not confirm exactly how many intern doctors stayed in hotels.

It is reported that a number of hospitals within the North West Province is in dire need for emergency hospital equipment. For this department to spend R6m per month, solely on accommodation is ridiculous.

The DA will write to the MEC for Health, Dr Magome Masike to find out why this money had not been used to construct the hospital’s own housing units.

Healthcare services in the North West have almost come to a complete standstill over the past few weeks. The Health Department in this province is on the verge of total collapse and was placed under administration by the national government. Yet, this kind of irresponsible and irregular spending continues unabated.

Following the Mediosa scandal, the DA will demand answers on who the service providers for the accommodation are and whether the necessary procurement processes were followed to pay such an exorbitant amount? We will also ascertain the precise number of intern doctors housed at the hotels.

Healthcare is a basic service and we remain committed to our oversight role in monitoring every single hospital in the province to ensure access to healthcare as a basic human right.