Health MEC Peggy Nkonyeni yesterday announced the lifting of the suspension of Manguzi Hospital’s Dr Mark Blaylock, the rural doctor convicted of misconduct for throwing her photograph into a dustbin.
However, in the same breath she announced a task team to look into ‘racism, ill treatment of staff and abuse of departmental facilities by Dr Blaylock and some doctors operating at some of our rural facilities’.
Nkonyeni said the task team would investigate the use of theatre facilities to operate on a dog, the assault of a radiographer, damage to a pharmacy window and ill-treatment and name-calling of striking staff.
A source at Manguzi Hospital said that Nkonyeni’s staff had phoned the hospital a number of times on Monday in order to get information about Blaylock from the hospital manager, Sipho Vumase.
Vumase was not available for comment as he was in Pietermaritzburg attending the MEC’s speech.
‘Am I to accept that some doctors are indispensable and above the law?’ said Nkonyeni. ‘We have in this province people masquerading as doctors ‘ and if we take actions against these quacks doctors (sic), are we going to be accused in the media of depleting our hospitals of this so-called sophisticated skills.’
Nkonyeni made these announcements in her Budget speech in which she reported a deficit of over R700-million for the past financial year and a new budget of over R15-billion.
The main areas of over-expenditure were:
- The Occupation Specific Dispensation (allowances) aimed at retaining skilled professionals (deficit of R382.4million in state hospitals and a further R14.7-million in other health facilities supported by the department)
- the antiretroviral treatment programme, which enrolled more patients than budgeted for (over by R158-million)
- the public sector strike, which meant the department had to use private facilities (R88-million)
- the tuberculosis programme, which had to respond to multi- and extensively ‘drug resist TB (R80-million)
- Implementing a 6% wage increase (R73.2-million);
Plans for the next financial year include building another regional hospital in the Zululand district, districts hospitals in Msinga and Melmoth, a community health centre in Marianhill and starting work on two hospitals promised in eThekwini.