4000 vacant critical posts in Gauteng hospitals
16 October 2017
Gauteng state hospitals have more than 4 000 vacancies in critical medical posts, including specialists, pharmacists, professional nurses and doctors.
This is revealed in the Gauteng Health Department's 2016/17 Annual Report that was tabled recently in the Gauteng Legislature.
According to the report, the vacancy rates in critical medical posts are as follows:
Professional Nurse (Student) - 30.2%
Medical Specialist - 18.8%
Dental Specialist - 15.4%
Pharmacist - 12.7%
Staff Nurse - 11.9%
Professional Nurse - 11.3%
Medical Practitioner (Doctor) - 10.9%
Only 40 316 skilled staff are employed out of 44 558 approved establishment posts - a shortage of 4242 critically needed staff.
The real situation is even worse as approved posts are mostly too low for hospitals struggling to cope with increased numbers of patients.
The shortages break down as follows:
Professional Nurses - 982
Medical Practitioners - 555
Student Professional Nurses - 536
Staff Nurses - 405
Medical Specialists - 171
Pharmacists - 61
Dental Specialists - 25
Another concern is the extremely high annual turnover rate for pharmacists (54%), doctors (46%) and specialists (18%).
Poor working conditions are largely to blame for the loss of skilled medical staff but I also suspect that some posts are frozen because of budget strains.
Staff shortages decrease the quality of patient care and lead to medical negligence cases that end up in court with high pay-outs.
The filling of critical posts should be a priority for the department which urgently needs to solve the underlying management and budgetary problems that lead to short-staffing in hospitals.
Issued by Jack Bloom, DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC, 16 October 2017