Eastern Cape blames negligence payouts for failure to fill specialist posts

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Most specialist posts at two of the Eastern Cape’s biggest hospitals remain vacant after the provincial health department failed to fill them. According to a Daily Dispatch report, the government says it has been leeched of funds to fill the posts by medical negligence claims against it.

Frere Hospital in East London only has 33% of full-time specialists posts filled, while Livingstone Hospital in Gqeberha has filled only 51.7% of specialist posts. The unfilled posts stretch across a variety of departments, including neurosurgery, anaesthesiology, cardiology, obstetrics and gynaecology and paediatrics.

A Frere hospital doctor, who cannot be named because he is not authorised to speak to the media, said the situation had a negative impact on the service given to patients. The doctor would only say: “We are concerned about unfilled posts impacting service delivery.”

Bhisho legislature health portfolio committee chair Mxolisi Dimaza said the shortage of doctors was being felt across provincial health facilities.

He said the committee had instructed the department to develop a plan to fill the vacancies soon. “There are critical posts that are vacant that the department has not filled for some time because they used the money to pay for medico-legal claims.

“We are happy that now the office of the premier in the province is deeply involved in trying to sort out this problem of medico-legal claims.”


Full Daily Dispatch report (Restricted access)


See also MedicalBrief archives:

Specialist vacancy rate in the Eastern Cape close to 50%

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