Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela has welcomed Minister Motsoaledi’s support for three Public Protector systemic investigations on health care and in particular the investigation into neo natal, infant and child deaths. She further applauded the Department of Health’s decision to establish an office for Health Standards Compliance incorporating a Health Ombudsman.
The Public Protector met with the Minister of Health in Cape Town on 15 February with a view to appraising the Minister on current Public Protector investigations, with a special focus on three systemic investigations currently underway. The Public Protector informed the Minister that the systemic investigation on neonatal infant and child deaths had reached a preliminary report which was being quality assured.
The second systemic investigation focuses on concerns raised by Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital primarily relating to irregularities and inefficiency in the procurement of hospital medicines and equipment leading to interruptions of essential services. The Minister welcomed this investigation stating that he hoped it would help his department verify allegations of fraud and corruption involving massive amounts of money. He further advised that action was already being taken by his department to verify such allegations.
The Public Protector advised that the third systemic investigation focuses on complaints received during the 2012 Public Protector Stakeholder Consultations wherein health services emerged as one of the top three areas of concern in all nine provinces. She undertook to provide the Minister with a copy of the Preliminary Report on the Stakeholder Consultations with a view to helping the Minister to assist where possible.
Minister Motsoaledi presented among others a “Ten Point Plan” to improve health care system. He also advised the Public Protector on how the proposed National Health Insurance Scheme will address some of the concerns raised during the stakeholder consultations. The Public Protector noted the progress the Minister has made to transform the Health System and undertook to review her investigation to avoid duplication and address the gaps identified at the level of implementation.
She further expressed support for the establishment of an Ombud office provided such office meets minimum standards for an effective Ombudsman office. The parties agreed to cooperate in finalising legislation on the Ombud office. The parties have agreed to continue to share information that may add value to the investigation.