Strained FS Health Department pushes back upgrades

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Chairperson of the Committees’ Oversight and Intergovernmental Relations in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Jomo Nyambi. Photo: People's Assembly

The financially strained Free State Health Department has pushed back refurbishments and upgrades at some of its major facilities to 2018/19.

This is according to a report by the Chairperson of the Committees’ Oversight and Intergovernmental Relations in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Jomo Nyambi.

The Chairperson says the deferment includes upgrades planned for the Free State Psychiatric Complex in Bloemfontein. This as delegates from the NCOP are revisiting the hospital and others this week to determine the current status of those facilities and to give feedback on developments since last year’s Taking Parliament to the People Programme.

It was during this programme that concerns were raised about the dilapidated building of the Free State Psychiatric Complex. It was further revealed that the building has over the years been prone to fires which Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Jacqueline Seboko, attributed to old installations at the time.

Nyambi adds the Psychiatric Hospital isn’t the only major facility affected by the department’s financial woes.

He says the Universitas Academic Hospital has been forced to prioritise critical repairs only, due to a limited maintenance budget. Nyambi told media present at the briefing that although the department noted some progress, Parliament’s verification report revealed that “little has been done” in the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality in general.

The delegates from the NCOP have been divided up into eight groups and will conduct oversight visits at the Mangaung Local Metropolitan Municipality as well as the Xhariep District Municipality this week. Six public meetings will be held on Thursday afternoon, in Botshabelo, Bloemfontein, Koffiefontein, Zastron and Trompsburg.

Olebogeng Motse / OFM News