Fransman urges health workers to stay in SA
Resource type: News
Cape Argus (South Africa) |
by SIPOKAZI MAPOSA
Health MEC Marius Fransman has urged health workers to stay in South Africa, promising to engage more with them to improve conditions in the public health sector and make the province more attractive for doctors, nurses and other health professionals.
Speaking to doctors and nurses at the official opening of the new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) unit at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, Fransman said advanced hospital equipment like the MRI would be useless without the “backbone” of health professionals.
“I know that most of you can take up a job anywhere in the world tomorrow. That is a fruit of our young democracy that you can ply your trade and profession wherever you choose.
“However, we need you here and we need you now.
“I am committed to engaging and understanding how we can improve the conditions of service and make serving your country an attractive and viable option.”
As Health MEC, Fransman said he would take up the issues of health workers who were emigrating to other parts of the world owing to crime, poor working conditions and non-competitive salaries.
He also promised doctors improved salaries before the end of this year, which he said would be introduced as part of the Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD) system.
In July 2007, nursing posts nationally were “translated” to form part of the OSD system. While their job descriptions remained the same, unions negotiated increases in salaries for some of these posts. Professional nurses, who earned between R8 000 and R10 000 a month, had their posts reclassified as higher-paying positions.
But the system was already experiencing some problems with the government demanding some nurses pay back their increases following administrative errors.
Fransman commended doctors for their specialisation, which had put the country on the world map, and promised more investment in specialist equipment.
In the past four years his department had invested R643 million in machinery and equipment.
The new versatile MRI scanner at Red Cross, which cost R12.7m, would help the hospital’s radiology department deal with more complicated tissue, brain and spinal cord illnesses.
The hospital’s Dr Richard Pitcher said the machine was a “relief” for Red Cross, which depended on Groote Schuur to perform high technology scans.
The hospital performed an average 25 to 30 scans a week, and had done almost 500 scans in the past six months.