The South African Heart Foundation based in the Western Cape, Tygerberg has come out in support of the ‘rebel’ doctors who publicly expressed concern over the deteriorating staffing and conditions at state hospitals within the Port Elizabeth area (See: East Cape Doctors draw the line in the sand with Health Department). Cardiology Head of Department, Dr Sats Pillay is one of the ‘rebel’ doctors who has been singled out for disciplinary measures by the amoebic administration (See: Three Doctors Singled out for Misconduct Investigation).
SA Heart, which is the official body representing the cardiac community in South Africa (both public and private sectors), released the following statement under the hand of SA Heart President Dr FA Snyders:
“SA Heart is deeply concerned about events that are unfolding in relation to the cardiac and allied services and personnel at the Port Elizabeth Hospital Complex. It has furthermore come to our attention that a dispute has arisen between staff and the Eastern Cape Department of Health, as a result of which disciplinary action has been commenced against members of SA Heart (and other associated health care workers), in their capacity as employees of the Eastern Cape Department of Health.
“The medical community in South Africa, especially the cardiac practitioners working in the public sector, are under enormous pressure to render a service in extremely difficult circumstances, with staff, equipment and financial constraints. At present, in the public sector, there is approximately 1 qualified cardiologist serving an estimated 2 million people with approximately 40% of all medical admissions having a cardiac component. It goes without saying that this has led to incredible stress on the part of these cardiac health workers in the public sector; it is important that this is recognised. It is disappointing too that the department do not value the dedication of professionals to serve the public.
“Any public statement that may have been issued by staff must be viewed in the light of trying to improve conditions for all, especially the patients, in an extremely fragile system, rather than as attempt to create problems for the Department. We have no reason to believe that our professional colleagues did not exhaust existing channels of communication. They furthermore have no personal gain in making such a statement. The action of the authorities are counterproductive and should rather focus on solving the problems than wasting time on disputes.
“In the light of this, SA Heart is of the view that every attempt should be made by all parties to resolve this matter as amicably and speedily as possible, without disciplinary action being taken against staff. This is important not only for the doctors concerned and the Department but also to ensure that patient care is not compromised.
“In light of this, SA Heart is amenable to making itself available to assist with the mediation and resolution of this dispute.”
Editors Notes: I find it increasingly difficult to understand how a vital department such as the EC DoH can be held to ransom by a few pen and paper pushers. Just this past weekend I realised how extremely lucky I am to be able to be attended to by a private doctor. My condition would not have been seen as an emergency by state doctors and I can only imagine the pain that I would have been subjected to as a result of this. I wonder how many of the administration staff at the EC DoH have private medical aids?
Related: Psychiatrists Support ‘Rebel’ Doctors | 80% of SA’s Population Serviced by 18% of SA’s Doctors | East Cape Doctors draw the line in the sand with Health Department | Three Doctors Singled out for Misconduct Investigation