The Gauteng Department of Health developed a Turnaround Strategy which was approved by the Gauteng Provincial Executive Council (EXCO) in July 2012. I wish to present progress that has been made with the implementation of the Strategy so far.
It should be noted that the Turnaround Strategy is being implemented until 2014. It will be assessed quarterly and annually until 2014. So this briefing is just to provide you with a brief progress up to so far.
Good progress has been made with the restoration of supply of medication and within certain areas of cost containment. The reasonable progress has also been made within service delivery areas although there is still room for improvement. There are challenges that we still need to overcome with payment of suppliers within the 30 day period.
The supply of essential drugs has improved considerably from 40% at the end of 2011/12 financial year to 74% at the end of August. This progress was registered in the period of just five months. Almost all medical supply depot suppliers are paid within the 30 day period.
In terms of cost containment, the department has by the end of August achieved savings of R81.6 million through the implementation of the cost containment strategy. Areas of cost containment include fleet management, laboratory services, medical supplies, overtime, cell phones and travelling costs. Through the implementation of the Electronic Gate Keeping (EGK) system in the 20 biggest spending hospitals, the department has managed to save R65 million on laboratory services. The amount saved is more than twice the R30 million that was targeted.
Another R8 million was saved through the strict management of the use of government cars. A total of 185 government cars have been withdrawn and fuel and repairs are closely monitored.
The department had originally targeted to collect R1.1billion of debt from other provinces and entities. It has however now been established that this amount was an overestimation and about only about R357million is collectable. A total of R107 million has already been collected to date.
The department has achieved variable success with payment of suppliers within 30 days largely due to the monthly cash allocation being used to prioritise the payment of accruals. A number of persistent challenges include delays in submission of invoices either by institutions, suppliers or entities to the Gauteng Department of Finance for processing.
By the end of August, the department had spent R11.3 billion of the budget for the 2013/14 financial year. This was mainly due to payment of accruals and the need to pay salary increases for employees in salary level 1-12. I am pleased to announce that the department has been able to pay all accruals for the period prior to April 2011 whilst payment for accruals for the financial period 2011/12 is at 99%.
Further progress has been noted in the collection of revenue from medical aids. A total of R194 million was collected by the end of August. To this end, the department has engaged and agreed with medical aids such as GEMS, Discovery, Transnet and Momentum on the Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PBS) with the objective that the department charges appropriate rates.
Notably progress has also been made with the stabilisation of senior management within the department. The following five senior management posts were filled in September:
Chief Financial Officer, Chief Director for District Health Services, Chief Director for Health Economics and Finance, Chief Director for Infrastructure Development and Chief Director for Information Communications and Technology.
The process of appointing the Head of Emergency Medical Services as well as Legal Services is underway and will be finalised soon. We are working with the National Department of Health to finalise the appointment of hospital CEOs.
To improve services at primary health care level, the department has re organised the three regions and six health district offices into 5 health districts namely Johannesburg, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, Sedibeng and West Rand. Four of the districts have full time Managers/Heads, whilst the process to appointing the Manager for Tshwane District is underway. Primary health care specialist teams have been appointed in all districts as part of our efforts to strengthen primary health care.
To improve the infrastructure of our facilities, a three year costed plan has been approved. The infrastructure plan is reviewed monthly, quarterly and annually. Critical maintenance of air conditioners, lights in Intensive Care Units, refrigerators in mortuaries, replacement of lifts, generators and laundry machines at various hospitals is on-going.
The Chief Executive Officers of the four Central hospitals namely Steve Biko Pretoria, Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg, Chris Hani Baragwanath and George Mukhari Academic hospitals are provided with local service providers to undertake emergency electrical and plumbing work. These service providers are available 24 hours a day.
The report I presented to you shows that the department is implementing various measures to address the challenges it has faced particularly around finance.
There is a Joint Technical Task Team (JTTT) between the Gauteng Department of Health, Gauteng Treasury, Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development and Office of the Premier, National Department of Health and National Treasury which has been formed to develop intervention plans for our Central and Tertiary hospitals. It meets weekly to assess and monitor progress. The JTTT is politically led by the Joint Political Team between the National Department of Health and Gauteng Department of Health.
The progress I have reported on would have not been possible without the leadership role of the Head of Department Dr Nomonde Xundu. Under the political leadership of my predecessor MEC Ntombi Mekgwe, Dr Xundu has been instrumental in the development of the Turnaround Strategy. She has led and continues to lead its implementation. She has done this with the full participation and support of managers and employees of the department.
I am grateful for the sterling job that Dr Xundu has performed in the department in the short period of one year. She was seconded by the National Department of Health to lead the Department with the development of the Turnaround Strategy. Having achieved that, the National Department of Health requested us to release her to go back to her job as our Health Attaché in the United States of America (USA) at the start of November 2012.
We actually wanted to take over her contract but respect the request of the National Department of Health and her right to choose to go back to her job in the USA. There will be a proper hand over process and the HOD has pledged to work with the new HOD to ensure continuity. We will ensure that the work she has done in the Gauteng Department of Health will continue unabated.