The KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Premier, Willies Mchunu, has suspended KZN’s Head of Health, Dr Sifiso Mtshali, citing the collapse of the health system in the province, particularly the collapse of oncology services.
“While we support the view that officials, including doctors and senior managers be held accountable for service delivery, we believe the healthcare problems in the province predate the appointment of Dr Mtshali and his suspension is nothing else but scapegoating,” said Chairperson of the South African Medical Association (SAMA), Dr Mzukisi Grootboom.
Dr Grootboom added that if Dr Mtshali is to be held accountable in this way, then his political leaders, the MEC for Health in KZN, as well the current and previous premiers should, similarly, also be held accountable.
“We would like to advise other colleagues in the employ of both the State and private sectors that their ethical obligations go beyond just adhering to service requirements,” said Dr Grootboom.
“They need to remember that when faced with challenges and demands from their employers, which are in contrast to their ethical obligations, they will not only have to account to their employers, the media, and the public, but also be subject to the scrutiny of their peers,” continued Dr Grootboom.
Dr Grootboom concluded by saying that he would like to remind SAMA members that, when faced with similar challenges within their workplaces, SAMA is always available to assist and advise as is needed.
“SAMA will not rest until the problems that Dr Mtshali and other doctors are facing in KZN are addressed fairly and transparently. We would also like to appeal to the users of Health services in KZN to support SAMA in its efforts to persuade the powers that be to address the real issues that affect our patients in the province,” concluded Dr Grootboom.