Management scrambling to cope with ‘procurement challenges’ at Charlotte Maxeke

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Management of goods and services in the Gauteng public health sector came into question in September 2019 when Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital was forced to cancel eight non-emergency surgeries due to a lack of basic medical equipment, says a Daily Maverick report. The equipment, termed medical consumables, included suction catheters, oropharyngeal airways, laryngeal masks, arterial line transducers, suture dressings and the correct-sized gloves.

The report says in the aftermath of the incident, the hospital has assured the public that it has implemented a number of measures aimed at “mitigating its procurement challenges”, including the appointment of a new supervisor, the establishment of a multidisciplinary team tasked with stock management and a more sophisticated supply chain system.

CEO Gladys Bogoshi cited “inefficiencies in stock management and partial or non-delivery of stock by companies” as reasons for the shortage of supplies at the hospital. The problem, however, lies in the hospital’s track record, which lists one procurement problem after the next, with similar incidents of cancelled operations and postponements dating back a decade.

But, the report says, for Democratic Alliance (DA) Gauteng shadow health MEC Jack Bloom “this is a constant administrative problem. This is one of our major hospitals and elementary things like procurement and handling of basic supplies can’t be done”.

Charlotte Maxeke is allocated a R3.1bn budget, but claims it experienced a 76% over-expenditure on goods and services in the previous financial year because of an increase in the patient load and inflation.

The report says commenting on the latest cancellations, Bogoshi listed “capacity and skills” as the main procurement challenges faced at the hospital. Bogoshi confirmed that a number of measures had since been implemented at the hospital, including the appointment of a new supervisor from August 2019.

“A multidisciplinary task team was formed to look at the stock management, develop protocols where there are none and identify skills gaps to ensure that appropriate training takes place,” she said. “(And) the supply chain management is conducting a procurement process map which will eliminate the delays in the requisition and dispatching processes.”

She said the proposed measures would have no financial implications on the hospital, as all tasks would be allocated to its current employees.

Daily Maverick report

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