I HAD a meeting last week with a senior public health official who shared very upsetting news with me.
I am sure by now it is general knowledge that the provincial Health Department owes the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro millions of rands. To add insult to injury this already life- threatening situation has escalated to a further level with the province and the metro in dispute as to who should pay the nurses' medical aid. According to my source, the municipality is to blame because it did not send Bhisho an invoice for the funds.
It is said the arrangement was concluded by the acting municipal manager and the relevant officials in Bhisho, but not executed.
Some 400 families face paying back all medical expenses paid by their funds since June 30. They also face no cover for the following period. This means that the dialysis treatment of the nurse already suffering will no longer be paid and she faces possible death.
This also means that the nurses in Hunters Craig for stress rehabilitation will no longer be able to afford treatment and be evicted.
This means that 400 families will live in dangerous South Africa, use our volatile roads and do so at risk with no medical aid cover. The residents of the metro are faced with possible strike action, which means the clinics will close and during the high volume season of winter no primary health care will be available.
When we warned the mayor and his administration that this was where we are heading, they decided to steamroll the item through council by using their numbers.
Now, the patients, staff and community are at risk of losing not only their incomes but also their lives. All that is left to say is: "We told you so!”
I hope Health Department director-general Dr Siva Pillay and the mayor realise they are directly to blame for this absolute collapse of affairs.
Francois Greyling, councillor for Ward 52 and for the public health portfolio