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Health to tackle staff shortages

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says the department will deal with staff shortages for frontline services in the year ahead.

The Minister led a debate on the department’s budget vote on Friday morning.

“The shortage of frontline service delivery staff needs to be eliminated once and for all. We have identified the shortage of staff, which requires urgent attention. Of the 4 143 required medical officer positions, we will fill 2 680 in this financial year,” Mkhize said.

This intervention, said the Minister, should be implemented simultaneously with the preliminary steps to introduce the National Health Insurance (NHI).

Some of the nurse, allied health professions and community health worker positions will also be filled within the same period.

“We are undertaking to absorb all the qualifying 2 625 medical interns, and 6 786 community service health professionals, including an anticipated 700 additional graduates from the Nelson Mandela Fidel Castro collaboration programme on training medical students in Cuba.

“The joint team of National Department of Health and National Treasury have met to reprioritise the budget and identify vacant posts to be converted into professional service delivery posts,” Mkhize said.

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