#KZNOncologyCrisis – Why did MEC Dhlomo stretch the truth about IALH’s new oncologists?
20 February 2018
Despite an announcement by KZN Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, regarding the arrival of three oncologists at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital (IALH), a professional hospital source has confirmed to the DA that nobody has turned up yet.
Last week the MEC stated that the oncologists, who form part of a Wits Health Consortium, had arrived and would start seeing patients. The implication was that this would start immediately. Yet, according to our sources at the hospital, the oncologists are only due to arrive next week.
The DA is appalled by this. At best the MEC is desperately trying to save face in the midst of his Department collapsing around him. At worse he is again misleading the people of KZN. Given the MEC and his Department’s track record, another week could easily turn into another month.
Of further concern to the DA are the following;
- The tender for the oncologists is not permanent and will only be in place for six months. While it is expected that newly graduated oncologists may return to KZN later this year, after completing their training in the Western Cape, their long term stay in the KZN Department of Health cannot be guaranteed in any way; and
- The MEC’s assurances that the arrival of the three oncologists will see waiting times cut from an average of six to eight weeks is also highly optimistic given that this crisis has stretched on for years with a massive backlog of patients requiring treatment.
The engagement of a consortium is in fact a move suggested by the DA almost eight months ago after the SAHRC first made its oncology report public, with the finding that the MEC and his Department had withheld patients’ rights to adequate cancer treatment. That the MEC has again tried to use the province’s oncology crisis as a publicity stunt - designed to make him and his Department look good – is nothing short of disgusting.
The question Premier Willies Mchunu needs to answer is, why has this MEC not been fired despite having presided over hundreds if not thousands of untimely deaths? Or do he and his ANC-led provincial cabinet simply not care?
The DA remains committed to ensuring that patients’ lives and wellbeing are put first. We will do so through continuous oversight and by holding the ANC in this province to account. Politicians who put their own party interests ahead of the needs of the people of our province must go.
Issued by Imran Keeka, DA KZN Spokesperson on Health, 20 February 2018