Qualified CEOs to replace 'clerks'

05 August 2011 - 09:55 By Harriet Mclea
Dr Aaron Motsoaledi
Dr Aaron Motsoaledi
Image: KEVIN SUTHERLAND 09/06/2009

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi will retrench unqualified hospital CEOs, whom he blames for many of the problems with public healthcare.

Speaking yesterday after a National Health Council meeting in Pretoria, Motsoaledi said he would be calling all CEOs.

He did not give details of the managers likely to be asked to leave, but hinted that the vacant positions would be advertised in newspapers.

He said "appropriately qualified and competent managers" with medical experience would replace CEOs with only clerical experience.

New regulations stipulate that no hospital is to be managed by anyone with less than a level 12 qualification and no central hospital is to be managed by someone at a level below 15.

"In some instances you find that a hospital is managed by a person who is, in fact, at a clerical level," Motsoaledi said.

"If we have to successfully implement the national health insurance (NHI) and provide good-quality services, we need to correct these anomalies."

Motsoaledi announced that the long-awaited NHI policy document would be released next week.

He also pointed to the discrepancies in the size and staffing of hospitals.

Singling out Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto - which has 2888 beds and 850 doctors - Motsoaledi said "the whole of the North West province doesn't have 850 doctors, and Mpumalanga has only 400".

He said: "It is an impossible task for managers'' at the hospital [Baragwanath], which has 400 buildings, 1200 people in the pharmacy, 500 at the out-patient unit, and 300 admitted to casualty every day.

His department would begin advertising posts for anaesthetists, family physicians, nurses, obstetricians, midwives, paediatricians and paediatric nurses, who would make up specialist task teams responsible for healthcare in each of the country's 57 districts.

Motsoaledi said it was true that South Africa has a "very serious shortage" of professionals for these skilled positions, but he was confident positions would be filled.

If necessary, medical schools would release lecturers. Private doctors, he said, if they were "altruistic" enough to leave their practice for one year were welcome. Failing that Motsoaledi said he would "go around the world for help".