‘ANC won’t tolerate MEC’s bad leadership’
The ANC secretary in the Eastern Cape, Oscar Mabuyane, has publicly slammed MEC for Health Sicelo Gqobana after it was reported that there were no medical surgeons at Cecilia Makhiwane Hospital in East London.
This followed a report in the Daily Dispatch yesterday on how inexperienced intern doctors at the hospital’s surgery unit worked without supervision because of a shortage of qualified surgeons in the hospital.
The paper also reported that second-year interns were traumatised because they feared working without supervision of senior doctors could lead to a loss of life at the hospital, after the department did not renew the contracts of two senior surgeons who headed the unit.
“We rebuke delays to recruit experienced surgeons and other key medical personnel. Allowing delays to the recruitment process is bad leadership and the ANC in the province will never tolerate that,” Mabuyane said.
He said the shortage of experienced and qualified surgeons at Cecilia Makhiwane Hospital was worrying and demanded that provincial government put in place urgent intervention to avert the situation.
“The health of our people is a critical matter to us and we can’t, when we have listed health as one of our top five priorities, have a situation where hospitals don’t have key medical personnel.
“We can’t allow a situation where the provincial department of health delays recruitment of medical and healthcare personnel. Delays in recruitment don’t affect the department officials but the ordinary people of the Eastern Cape,” Mabuyane said.
He said MEC Gqobana had a duty to ensure that his department delivered quality healthcare and that the efficient recruitment of key personnel at all health facilities in the province was critical.
“We call on the MEC to move with a speed of lightning to ensure that all healthcare centres, not only Cecilia Makhiwane, have medication, the required nursing staff, the necessary doctors and experienced surgeons and other medical specialists,” Mabuyane said.
Eastern Cape provincial health spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said the situation had been grossly exaggerated. He said doctors and surgeons from Frere Hospital were helping out at Cecilia Makhiwane.
“It is not entirely true that interns are working on their own,” Kupelo said.
He said already a doctor had been appointed to head the unit and would be joined by other doctors who have been appointed and are due to start in March.
“The issue of the shortage of surgeons is not an Eastern Cape problem, it’s a national issue, but we are dealing with it,” he said.
Kupelo refused to comment on the ANC statement.
But when contacted for comment, a seemingly irritated Gqobana told City Press: “I do not want to be dragged into the gymnastic politics of Mabuyane of the ANC in the province, or his style of leadership.”
Gqobana then referred all media enquiries regarding the Cecilia Makhiwane Hospital back to Kupelo.