DA appeals to oncologists to return to KZN Health Department workforce

Democratic Alliance media statement by Dr Imran Keeka, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on Health

 

DA appeals to oncologists to return to KZN Health Department workforce

 

With the reintroduction of Oncology services at Durban’s Addington Hospital now underway, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the province calls on oncologists who are able to return to the provincial Health Department’s workforce, to do so.

The call comes as KZN Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo is expected to announce later today that services at Addington have resumed and that some 40 patients will be seen per day.

The people of KwaZulu-Natal need the services of oncologists now more than ever. Currently, the situation in KZN is far worse than it was in 2016 when the DA first raised the alarm by writing to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).

At the time, there was a three to five month backlog in cancer treatment and there were still many oncologists. Today, the waiting period is 12 months and there is only one full-time oncologist available in the entire Southern part of the province. These factors mean that many more patients will be condemned to untimely deaths as a result of the progression of the disease before they can get treatment.

The DA fully anticipates that today’s media briefing will be used as a form of celebration by the MEC and yet another opportunity to take photo’s of Radiotherapy machines. He would do well to remember though that this crisis is of his own making and that the deaths of more than 500 cancer patients is the result of his failure to deal with ongoing problems within the system.

The DA remains committed to ensuring that the MEC is held accountable for this. While the resumption of some oncology services is a step in the right direction, it did not happen as a result of the MEC and his Department being proactive.

It happened because they were under duress from the SAHRC and had to implement the Commission’s directives. The fact that some of the oncology tools of trade are now back online should also serve as a strong reminder to the MEC and his Department that KZN must never again face such a violation of human rights – and so many deaths – as a result of pure negligence on their part.

What the people of KZN need most right now is oncologists. They do not need a failed MEC who must be fired for his role in the deaths and ruin of the healthcare system.

If Premier Willies Mchunu has any real regard for the people of our province – in particular those who are suffering from this dread disease – he must act and remove MEC Dhlomo. He can be assured that if he does, the move will also be celebrated by the almost 70 000 staff within the province’s Health Department. The Premier must do the right thing.

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