Gauteng Health pays off suppliers

The Gauteng Health Department has met its deadline to pay off all suppliers by the end of June this year.The department faced tremendous pressure in the 2011/12 financial year to settle supplier debt as delays in payments were having a negative impact both on the side of the suppliers as well as service delivery by the department.

“A total of R4.4 billion was therefore paid from April to June this year, and we can now say that the deadline of settling accrual by June 30 has been achieved,” MEC Ntombi Mekgwe said on Sunday.

Mekgwe said the department had paid its debts up to March this year. The MEC said where invoices were still being processed; payments will be released as soon as the invoices have been captured in the system and verified.

“We have now put in place a plan to avoid a recurrence of the accruals and cash flow challenges that we have experienced. Our plan includes achieving a cost saving of R1.6 billion through cost containment measures. Cost saving will be achieved by managing the compensation of employees, reducing costs associated with pharmaceutical, surgical items, medical equipment, security services and the use of government vehicles,” Mekgwe said.

She said the department will also focus on reducing the costs of medical litigation against the department and the costs of blood, laboratory tests and x-rays through the implementation of the electronic gate keeping system. Intensive measures will also be implemented to collect debts that are owed to the department.

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To achieve further improvements and sustain the success the department has achieved, Mekgwe said they have developed a Gauteng Health Turnaround Strategy (2012 – 2014). The implementation of the strategy will be focusing on eight core areas namely Financial Management; Personnel; District Health Services; Hospital; Management; Communication and Social Mobilization; Infrastructure and Maintenance; Information Management and Litigation Management.

“We are confident that the interventions outlined in the turnaround strategy would lead to more effective utilization of available resources by the department; the clearing of debts and accruals; delivery within allocated budgets; improvement of health outcomes, entrenchment of the desired organization culture, enhanced internal discipline throughout the organization; and improved public and partner confidence,” Mekgwe said.