KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu has issued a stern ultimatum to hospital CEOs and finance managers in the province to get their finances in order and help the department improve its audit outcomes, or face the consequences.
Speaking at a workshop attended by hospital CEOs, finance managers and treasury officials in Durban recently, MEC Simelane-Zulu, welcomed the refresher training programme, which entails, among others, a brand new management reporting pack and ongoing mentorship to guide CEOs and finance managers and help improve fiscal discipline in their facilities.
The MEC, however, did not mince her words about looming action against those who behaved recklessly with the public purse, and allowed the wastage of scarce financial resources under their watch.
She stated that KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala had made it clear that the department needed to turn around its financial management as a matter of urgency- or heads would roll.
The MEC cited a number of her own personal experiences whereby hospital CEOs had no clue about the financial state of facilities that they were ultimately responsible for.
“I’ve visited a number of hospitals, but the majority of them, when you ask a simple question about finances from the CEO, they don’t know the answer. But in the majority of cases, the managers let the finance manager run the system as if they’re not there. In one instance, the CEO was not ashamed to say to me, ‘Yes, I signed, but I did not read the document.’
“He didn’t see anything wrong with the fact that he did not read a document that he’s supposed to account for. So, that says to me, even the finance of the facilities are not really known by our CEOs, because there’s always someone else who will deal with that. It comes to an end today,” she said.
Every single manager according to their delegation is going to see consequence management, she noted.
“Consequence management is one factor that we need to start implementing as the Department of Health. It cannot be that we get negative audit outcomes from the auditor-general, because of how we manage facilities. There is one small team of managers at head office, but there’s 73 of you as CEOs,” she added.
MEC Simelane-Zulu also made it clear that she was not threatening staff, but merely asking people to do their job.
“I’m here to say to managers, you have to manage. You get paid to manage. You don’t get paid to be big bosses sitting in big offices. It cannot be that I arrive at some facilities as the MEC, and I ask questions about what is happening and only someone else knows the answers, but the CEO of the facility does not. It cannot be that I get into a facility, there’s equipment that hasn’t been delivered because it hasn’t been paid for, and the CEO doesn’t know why we’ve not paid,” she expressed.
The MEC was extremely concerned that a large number of the healthcare workers, who became infected with Covid-19, had sought medical treatment in the private sector. She described this as an indictment on the state of public health facilities, which needs to change.
“Do you know that the percentage of them, who actually came to our facilities, was less than five percent? The vast majority did not trust our own system enough to come and be hospitalised in our facilities. Those, who did not go to private hospitals, requested for beds to self-isolate at home. Those, who needed to be hospitalised immediately, wanted to go to Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital, and we questioned that because they had other facilities closer to them,” the MEC revealed.
She mentioned that good management also entailed hospital managers getting tough on staff, who mistreat patients.
MEC Simelane-Zulu emphasised that help was at hand for CEOs and finance managers, who were struggling or felt overwhelmed, for whatever reason.
This article was republished from Risingsun Overport with permission