Budget cuts will have dire consequences for health sector, union warns

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The Health and Allied Workers Indaba Trade Union (Haitu) general secretary, Lerato Mthunzi has painted a bleak picture of how dire the situation is in the country’s health sector.

Haitu says National Treasury will collapse the public healthcare sector by implementing drastic budget cuts.

Treasury’s cost-cutting proposals will implement a number of stringent measures to rein in government spending which include a hiring freeze, after a shortfall in revenue collection.

Haitu says hospitals are faced with staff shortages and the states refusal to fill vacancies lead to poor patient outcomes.

Mthunzi says their working conditions are outrageous.

“We are currently seating with gross challenges not just challenges of staff shortages, but also of material resources and of course dilapidated infrastructure – those are the three main things. But if you cut this budget, it means the healthcare sector is going to be badly impacted.”

“We don’t see the Minister of Health [Joe Phaahla] saying anything, the worst part is that we find that healthcare workers have to improvise. These austerity measures are poisonous. We are expected to be fire fighters but we won’t give you water,” adds Mthunzi.

Below is the full interview with Lerato Mthunzi: