The Democratic Alliance (DA) says the Gauteng Health Department is owed R195 million by other government departments in patient fees. DA Shadow Health MEC, Jack Bloom, says this has been disclosed in the Department’s 2018/19 Annual Report that was recently tabled in the Gauteng Legislature.

The Department of Correctional Services owes R31 million while the North West Department of Health owes the most money, R63 million in patient fees, up from R56 million last year.

Bloom says unpaid bills by other provinces are a long-standing problem with repeated failed promises to fix it.

“This is a huge amount of money and it is quite disgusting. I think that government departments are delaying to pay the Gauteng Health Department, because they need the money to improve services. North West has always had a problem paying for their patients. It has just built up over the years. And other provinces are also problematic with Mpumalanga as well. Correctional Services and the police service, as well as neighbouring provinces where Gauteng treats a lot of their patients, they need to pay what they are owed.”

Meanwhile, the Western Cape Health Department has become one of the first Health Departments in the country to receive a clean audit from the Auditor General. The department presented its 2018/19 annual report to the Standing Committee on Wednesday. It spent more than R23 billion this past financial year, which is 99.8% of its total budget.

Western Cape Minister of Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo says the last financial year was not short of challenges. She says they were faced with budget cuts, drought and water shortages, disease outbreaks and disasters like fires.

However, despite the challenges the province has some of the best health outcomes of all nine provinces. She says 91% of residents have access to health services within 30 minutes of their home.

In addressing the growing demand for services, the department also started Community Orientated Primary Care, where healthcare workers go into communities and households.