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01 March 2017


The Health and Other Service Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa) is becoming increasingly concerned over the serious shortage of cancer treatment staff in KZN.  The Union previously reported on the matter and now recently there have been new reports of a shortage of oncologists at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital.


Hospersa has received reports that Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital in Cato Manor now has only three oncologists to attend to more than 300 patients per day.  It is reported that the situation has become so dire that some patients needing chemotherapy are being turned away and told to return in six months time for their treatment.


Hospersa previously reported on the non-maintenance of the machines used for treatment, and also staged a picket outside Addington Hospital in 2014.  Apparently the two machines at Addington have for much of the time not been in proper working order since 2012.  Much of this is reported to be because of poor management and even alleged corruption.  The corruption relates to the procurement of maintenance services for the machines, where the authorised provider was turned down in favour of a local company which is believed to have links with senior government officials.


Hospersa at the time highlighted the serious shortage of staff with the necessary skills to perform their important work, especially in KZN.  The Union said that this becomes a vicious circle when oncologists resign due to the terrible circumstances they are expected to work under.  The net effect is that once a patient is diagnosed with cancer, he or she can literally die before receiving treatment.  Hospersa estimates that 85% of the citizens living in KZN are dependent on public healthcare.


“It is unacceptable for Government to continue with this appalling state of affairs where oncology treatment centres remain hugely under-resourced in staff compliment and in chemotherapy machines,” said Hospersa General Secretary Noel Desfontaines.  “It is inhumane to think that lower-income people who battle with sickness are sent home because the state cannot care for them.  This, combined with the huge amounts of money going to waste due to corruption and poor management, makes this situation a bitter pill to swallow for the sick,” Desfontaines concluded. 



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For interviews please contact Hospersa General Secretary Noel Desfontaines – 083-321-4427.


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