New hospital might face shortage of medical staff

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Free State Health MEC Benny Malakoane

The new multimillion-rand Albert Nzula-hospital in Trompsburg might face a serious shortage of medical staff even before it opens its doors.

The Free State Health Department said all is set for the opening of this R380 million newly constructed hospital that has been gathering dust for more than three years. Several reasons, such as a faulty sewerage system, have been cited for the delay of its opening. Now it seems the shortage of medical staff in the province might also affect this hospital.

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In an answer to a question in the Free State Provincial Legislature, Health MEC, Butana Komphela, said the hospital might open next month. He said the department is looking at two possible dates – November this year or January next year. Komphela also said the department has advertised 77 posts for the hospital but admitted that the hospital needs a staff component of 196.

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In a statement released earlier by the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), the organisation said Komphela – who was only moved to the portfolio of Health earlier this month – has a mammoth task ahead in rebuilding the Free State Public Healthcare Service after a quarter of its doctors resigned in 2015.

Cathy Dlodlo