Health Budget: Committee Report

Health (WCPP)

27 July 2020
Chairperson: Ms W Philander (DA)
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Meeting Summary

Video: STANDING COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, 27 JULY 2020, 11:30

The Standing Committee on Health met to deliberate on Vote 6: Health, in the Schedule to the Western Cape Adjustments Appropriation (COVID-19) Bill [B4 – 2020] and consider and adopt the Committee Report on Vote 6 in the Schedule to the Western Cape Adjustments Appropriation (COVID-19) Bill [B4 – 2020]. The meeting took place on a virtual platform.

Members questioned what was spent on Personal Protective Equipment, expenditure for service providers, number and cost of additional staff in hospitals, costs of additional ICU beds, private hospitals the Department worked with and the criteria used to determine budget cuts for the building of hospitals.

The Committee also probed the issue of private donors, cost of the Hospital of Hope, costs for testing centres and the construction of these centres.

The Committee resolved that the Department provides;

  • List of private donors doing business with the Department
  • Breakdown cost of testing centers and cost of construction
  •  Total number of beds procured and the cost

The vote was supported by the majority of Members with the ANC not supporting the budget vote.

Meeting report

The Chairperson opened the meeting and welcomed the MEC and her team. She noted that the Members had received the budget vote report prior to the meeting and requested Members to only focus their questions on page 85-94 of the report.

The Chairperson gave the floor to the Members to ask the questions.

Discussion

Ms R Windvogel (ANC) asked the following questions;

  • What is the number and the amount that has been spent on Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) and can the Department provide a breakdown of this expenditure and the details of the service providers?
  • What is the number of additional staff in hospitals and how many seasonal workers are there and what is the cost of this?
  • What is the cost of additional Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds in the private sector and what are the details of the private hospitals the Department is working with and how are these selected?
  • What are the criteria used to determine budget cuts on hospitals that have been on hold for a very long time such as GF Jooste Hospital?

Ms A Bans (ANC) asked the following questions;

  • The details of the private donors
  • Whether the Department received beds as the donation
  • If they are any donors doing business with the provincial government or the Department itself
  • What is the breakdown for the cost of the Hospital Hope including construction cost, rental cost, and other operational costs?
  • What is the construction cost of testing centers and when will all be functional including the ones under construction?
  • What is the total number of beds that have been procured and at what cost?

In response, Dr Keith Cloete, HOD: Western Cape Department of Health, proposed that on the issue of PPE breakdown, details of service providers, additional staff in hospitals and the cost of additional beds the Department, is contained in a detailed document which he was happy to forward to the Committee for Members to peruse. R420million was spent on PPE for four months and this includes some of the orders that the Department has made. 54 testing sites were established and are expected to cost R93 million. The Hospital of Hope was allocated expenditure of R155 million. The staffing cost of the 620 posts will cost the Department R23 million per month should all the 620 members be gainfully employed.

The Department centralised the procurement of PPE and the R420 million is not for physical tests only but will also be for testing centers and community testing and screening. The Department also allocted R260 million to field hospitals – this was an estimated figure as the Department did not know how many patients will come through. The R600 million on infrastructure also covered health technology throughout the province. The Department also invested in existing platforms that are rural and district platforms for critical beds for them to be able to manage COVID.

Dr Cloete said the details of the ten patients sent to private hospitals can be sent to the Committee as well as the expenditure on the Hospital of Hope including how much was spent on agreement fees and operational costs – he was happy to forward the details to the Committee.

On the issue of private hospitals, the Western Cape MEC for Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, said private health is a delegated function from national health to provincial health. Before the pandemic, the Department was using the regulations of the 1971 Act in terms of licensing of private health. She said there has always been a relationship with private health e.g. NetCare at the Groote Schuur Private Academic Complex has always been there. She noted that the National Minister has to negotiate that at his level in terms of how the relationship should be shaped. It starts at the national and then bilateral agreements are signed at the provincial level. MEC noted the Department has been working well with all the private groups.

Dr Cloete weighed in and said the relationship with private health is a complicated process hence the Department is proposing a written account be provided to the Committee. On the reprioritisation of the GF Jooste Hospital that was supposed to be built, the department said it did not abandon the project but currently it still busy with the tender and will put it in next year’s budget.

The MEC added that the Department is also currently dealing with a pandemic and such a matter will be dealt with at another level.

Committee Resolutions

The Committee resolved that the Department provides;

  • List of private donors doing business with the Department
  • Breakdown cost of testing centers and cost of construction
  •  Total number of beds procured and the cost

Closing Remarks

The MEC thanked the Committee for inviting the Department to come and present and she looked forward to continued cooperation. She noted that on 1 August 2020, the Department is introducing other programmes such as immunisation that had been placed on hold.

The HOD also thanked the Committee for the oversight and noted that as the Department, they feel supported.

Budget Vote Report

Mr G Bosman (DA) moved for the support of the Report

This was seconded by Mr R Allen (DA)

 Ms Windvogel noted that the ANC did not support the budget vote.

The Chairperson noted that the Budget Vote and Report had been passed with the ANC not in support.

The meeting was adjourned.

Audio

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