Gauteng short of 39 clinics
19 April 2017
Thirty-nine new clinics need to be built in Gauteng in order to cover the health needs of an expanding population.
This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
According to Ramokgopa, there are currently 369 clinics in Gauteng, of which 340 are "adequately utilised".
She says that 29 clinics serve too few patients as they are "situated in an effectual elite area where most of the population are insured".
Inadequately utilised clinics that are identified include the following:
Johannesburg - Randburg, Sandton, Malvern, Kensington and Crown Gardens.
Tshwane - Rayton, De Wagensdrift, Pretorius Park, Silverton, Skinner Street,
Eldoraigne and Onverwacht.
Ekurhuleni - Reedville, Bonaero Park, Olifantsfontein, Alra Park, Reedville and Crystal Park.
West Rand - Noordheuvel, Itumeleng, Elandsfontein, Venterpost and Deelkraal.
Sedibeng - Driehoek, Beverley Hills, Rensburg and Market Avenue.
I disagree that many of the above clinics are underutilised. Not all of them are in affluent areas and there are also many people in the richer suburbs who are dependent on state healthcare, such as domestic workers.
Furthermore, many of the 340 clinics that Ramokgopa says are "adequately utilised" are overcrowded with inadequate facilities and staff to serve the patients.
Primary health care is a provincial competence that the Gauteng Health Department has delegated in many instances to local authorities who are hard-pressed to run these clinics using ratepayer money.
I am concerned that the department spent R1.926 billion in 2016/17 on clinics, which is a tiny increase on the R1.925 billion spent the previous year.
Municipalities need more financial assistance from the province to run their clinics, and the 39 more clinics that are needed should be built in good time.
Issued by Jack Bloom, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health, 19 April 2017