The National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (NUPSAW), has learnt with a shock that the KZN Department of Health has decided to abolish more than 13 000, vacant posts in the department instead of filling those posts. NUPSAW has been engaging the department on the shortage of employees within the department; whereby jobs that were normally performed by three-employees are now tasked to one employee. In some institutions, they rely on Medical Interns to carry out their day-to-day duties. This is happening despite the undue pressure given to the Managers who are tasked to manage the institutions and to deliver the best quality health services. It is disturbing to see that of the 1 000 abolished vacant post in the Emergency Medical Rescue Service, 7 00 of those post were the Paramedics; a service that is currently in shortage. As a result, the remaining Paramedics work overtime estimated between 60-80 hours per month to cover for the staff shortage. The other important post abolished are the Doctors, Specialists, Pharmacist, Radiographers and Nurses. The province is running about 240 ambulances per shift/day to serve the population of 10, 656,000, which translate to 1 000 ambulances per day which is according to the national norm. This is ridiculous and unacceptable for the people who have to wait 6-10 hours for the arrival of the ambulances. This matters is of importance and must be attended to immediately.

In hospitals, there are long queues and at times patients die sitting in benches. The waiting times for the hospital pharmacies is not less than 6 hours as speculated. The population of KwaZulu-Natal needs the service that they deserve. It is interesting to note that the ruling party -ANC manifestos include the creation of millions of jobs within the next three years. They also talk about the decent jobs of which now it is questionable whether they meant decent jobs if they abolish the public sector posts. It will be important for the party leadership to advise their Executive Members in government to reverse this decision in order to meet the target.

The support staff in institutions has decreased dramatically yet they are expected to support the health service delivery units. Institutions were denied the filling of these posts by Head office reason being that they are not critical but the same Head Office has been advertising and filling the support service posts immediately before this mass abolition.

Compiled by: Nkosinathi Ndamane (KZN)

For any inquiries contact:

Nomthandazo Mahlangu
Communications and Media Liaison Officer

NUPSAW, 814 Church Street, Eastwood 0083