Pretoria: The National Health Amendment Act, 2013, which will enable Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi to establish the Office of Health Standards Compliance (OHSC), is now effective.
Department of Health spokesperson, Joe Maila, said that the department will now set up the OHSC, which is fashioned on a similar model based on the British Quality Care Commission. It will have three units, with the first being the inspectorate.
It will be mandatory for the unit to inspect every health facility once every four years. Problematic health facilities will be inspected often to avoid deterioration.
Last year, 20 individuals were sent to Britain to train as inspectors of South African facilities.
Maila said that since last year, inspectors have been going around doing pre-inspections in the health facilities to see what is lacking and how the department can improve on them.
“Now that the law is in place, we are in a process to set up the office. We are coming in to sort out the issues raised from the findings by the inspectors,” Maila said.
Once a particular facility has been inspected, it will be graded on a scale of A to F, and a report will be subsequently released publicly.
The second unit of the body will be a health ombudsperson. The public will be able to lodge complaints about the negative experiences (including non-availability of drugs and long waiting times) encountered during their visits to health facilities.
By April last year, at least 40 individuals were trained and divided into facility improvement teams. They have been moving from district to district to help institutions to improve basic standards.
The department has further identified 400 unemployed graduates in three major fields including finance, human resources and ICT. They have undergone training in governance by the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy.
The graduates were divided into teams of 45 each and dispatched to various provinces to help in the field of supply chain management, asset reconciliation and management and human resources management, especially the cleaning of PERSAL (public administration system) in the provinces.