During the 2015/16 provincial health budget speech, the new Western Cape (WC) Minister of Health, Nomafrench Mbombo, discussed funding for health technology and the department’s goals for the financial year.

It was revealed that the WC DoH will receive a budget of R18.8 billion, 36% of the overall provincial budget for the 2015/16 financial year, which is almost an 8% increase from last year’s budget.

Mbombo said the five major conditional grant allocations for 2015/16 are R2,5 billion for the National Tertiary Services Grant; R804 million for the Health Facility Revitalisation Grant; R489 million for the Health Professional training and Development Grant; R1,1 billion for the Comprehensive HIV/ AIDS Grant; and  R7 million for the NHI Pilot Project Grant.

Mbombo explained that the Health Budget is divided between eight programmes that include Administration; District Health Services (DHS); Emergency Medical Services (EMS); Provincial Hospitals; Central Hospital Services; Health Sciences Training; Healthcare Support Services; and Health Facilities Management.

Under the Administration programme, Mbombo noted that a key priority is to “improve service delivery through advances in IT at primary healthcare facilities and hospitals. It is important that systems collaborate across the board to increase efficiency.” Mbombo also mentioned how a new IT system is required in the communication centres of EMS to “achieve a response rate of Priority 1 Calls for both in metro and rural areas.”

The Health Facilities Management programme has been allocated R826 million, of which R186 million is allocated to new and replacement assets, including eHealth systems, and R266 million to maintenance and repairs.

“The Health Technology allocation in 2015/16 will fund, amongst others, the PACS/RIS which is the digital radiology and information system that allows for images like X-rays and CT scans to be viewed and stored digitally,” said Mbombo.

According to Mbombo, the systems will be rolled out at Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain, George, Worcester and Paarl Hospitals. “This budget will also fund the radiotherapy upgrade at Groote Schuur Hospital, the theatre upgrade at New Somerset Hospital and the Ophthalmology unit at Tygerberg Hospital,” said Mbombo.

Mbombo also highlighted the department’s long term strategic vision laid out in their WC Healthcare 2030 document, which is on par with National Development Plan (NDP) 2030, which “emphasises the wellbeing of the population as priority.”

Mbombo also said that due to “dwindling public funds, we have decided to initiate a multi-lateral agreement between the four major institutions in the WC: University of Cape Town, University of the Western Cape, Stellenbosch University and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.”

According to Mbombo, the aim of the agreement is to “incentivise and encourage the sharing of service platforms, resources, clinical training and teaching at these major institutions to enable the Department to achieve optimal health outcomes through the training of health professionals.”

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