Saturday, July 28, 2007

Health Minister: Province will strengthen Hospital’s Services to the Community

In welcoming the Prince Albert Hospital’s personnel into the family of Provincial health workers during his visit to the town on Thursday, 28 June 2007, Dr Pierré Uys, the Western Cape Minister of Health, committed his Department to strengthening and supporting a number of services offered by the Hospital, among them the ambulance and the X-ray services.

Dr Uys, who was accompanied by a delegation of senior officials of the Department of Health, praised the valuable role the Hospital played in the community, particularly in serving the poorest of the poor.

The Provincially Aided Hospital which was officially opened in September 1978 became a Provincial hospital on 1 April 2007. At a lunch to meet Hospital staff, Dr Uys admitted that Government systems and procedures would take some getting used to but reassured personnel that they would benefit from being Provincial employees in terms of salary and allowance structures and the training offered by his Department.

He stressed that Hospital employees were now part of a team where each person’s role was valued. Dr Renette Crous, the Regional Director of Health for the Southern Cape and a member of Dr Uys’ delegation, also thanked the Hospital’s staff for their commitment to service delivery in spite of recent upheavals and for not joining the nationwide civil servants’ strike in June.

A senior Hospital official confirmed that the training opportunities that were now open to Hospital personnel were a great advantage. At the same time, the official regretted that in spite of rural allowances and the many positive aspects of living in Prince Albert, the Hospital still could not fill key posts that had been vacant for a while.

This the official felt was due to “local housing prices being out of reach of people on civil servants’ salaries.” According to a Health Department official travelling with Minister Uys, the Department hoped to be able to appoint a new Hospital Secretary by the end of July. Ms H Botha has been Acting Hospital Secretary since January of this year.

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