The Committee discussed outstanding issues which it wanted addressed in the coming year. Members discussed the idea of an international oversight visit to
Members discussed the idea of having a follow up meeting with Deans of universities who they had met earlier in the year. Members raised the idea of getting responses to queries it had raised with the Health Departments of the
Members suggested looking at getting identity cards made which allowed them access to hospitals across the country without necessarily having to have announced their intention to visit a hospital. They discussed the idea of inviting traditional healers to a meeting to canvass their views on health issues.
Discussion of outstanding issues in preparation for 2011
The Chairperson said that the Committee needed to assess what it had done during the year and what it had achieved. He emphasised the need for the Committee to take on an evidence based approach. He requested a report on the Committee’s achievements and challenges in order to best set targets for 2011. The Committee had the right to undertake an international oversight visit, he wanted that trip to be taken to
Mr G Lekgetho (ANC) said that the Committee should learn from the reports which had been submitted by the Committee in previous years to assess progress made. The Committee should take the international oversight visit in the timeframes given to it by the Chair of Chairs.
Mr D Kganare (COPE) said that the Committee should seek to get responses to queries it had raised with the provincial Health Departments of the
The Chairperson informed Members that he had interacted with the health representatives of the two provinces concerned and they would return to the Committee in the coming year. In addition, he had communicated with the Deans and would have them back in the coming year for a follow up meeting. The Committee would link up with the Department of Health for events and campaigns and play a primary role in such events and campaigns. He agreed with Mr Kganare’s comment on the importance of looking at drug and alcohol abuse.
Mr M Waters (DA) commented that the Committee should follow up on a report on Coca Cola it had received in the current year. The Directorate of Radiation Control should be looked at in the coming year. He agreed with the Chairperson’s view that the Committee should go to
The Chairperson suggested that the Committee meet with the South African Medical Association in the coming year to canvass their views on the health problems affecting the country. It was also important that the Committee looked at the issue of how to keep foreign doctors who had been contracted to work in the country but had retired because their contracts had run out. The country needed all the medical professionals it could get and foreign doctors who worked in the country should be given dispensation to work as long as they could.
Ms E More (DA) commented that all international oversight trips would have to be properly planned and laid out before being undertaken to ensure that what the Committee set out to achieve was indeed completed. Stakeholders should be considered when discussing health issues because as long as the bottom half of society was oblivious to the issues, the top half could not be fixed.
The Chairperson added that the Committee should look at the issue of hospital acquired infections which added substantially to health costs.
Ms T Kenye (ANC) said that it was important that the Committee have a meeting with the Nursing Council in the coming year as nurses were an important aspect of the health sector.
The Chairperson concurred with Ms Kenye’s suggestion.
Mr Kganare spoke of the importance of human resource development and said that the Committee should seek to have a meeting with the Health SETA administrators in order to assess how best to use the money allocated to the SETAs to develop health professionals. The Committee should look into private health costs, the prices could be higher than necessary to maximise profits.
The Chairperson added that the Committee should look into the private health sector in general as there was a need to balance ethical practices and profit making. It was important to have a proper evidence gathering process before casting aspersions about the private sector. There was generally no regulation of the private health sector and regulation was necessary.
Ms Kenye gave an example of private sector doctors attempting to force her daughter to have a birth that was regulated by medicine when she wanted to have a natural birth free of medicine.
The Chairperson commented that the Committee should seek to meet with the Association of Reverse Osmosis Professionals of Southern Africa to get a better view of the necessity of their work and progress made.
Ms M Dube (ANC) said that the issue of private sector health needed to be looked at as it appeared that medical aid schemes “were ripping the people off”. She asked when the Committee would adopt its minutes and reports.
The Chairperson said that the Committee would have to agree on a meeting date to adopt outstanding minutes and reports. An ombudsman may be proposed for the private health sector to deal with people’s complaints about the sector in the near future.
Ms More asked whether the Committee would discuss issues it wanted to address with the private health care sector.
The Chairperson said that any questions or areas of discussion should be broad so that the Committee could get a good idea of how the sector operated.
Ms Dube asked what had happened to the idea of having a template which the Committee could use on its oversight visits to question health professionals in the various provinces. She suggested that the Committee have a meeting with traditional healers to canvass their views on certain health issues.
Mr Lekgetho agreed with Ms Dube’s suggestion on a meeting with traditional healers.
The Chairperson said that he had seen the suggested template document and had decided against using it because the line of questions were too stringent and could easily be adapted to by the places they conducted oversight visits to. However, if the Committee wanted the template revived that could be done.
Mr Kganare suggested that the Committee not adapt the template and rather take on unannounced oversight visits to get a clear picture of what was happening on the ground.
The Chairperson said that Members could carry out unannounced visits in their constituents.
Ms More said that the Committee should look at getting identity cards being made which allowed them access to hospitals across the country without necessarily having to have announced their intention to visit a hospital.
Mr Lekgetho agreed with Ms More and said that at times Members were blocked from inspecting hospitals despite identifying themselves to the staff. This hindered Member’s ability to carry out oversight and should be addressed as soon as possible.
The Chairperson said that he would remind the Minister of Health of the Committee’s wish to have such cards made. The issue should also be discussed further in the Members’ various party caucuses. In closing, he wished all the Members a merry Christmas and happy New Year.
The meeting was adjourned.
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