Chairperson, I dedicate my speech in memory of Dr Molefi Sefularo. The work and the footprint of the late Deputy Minister of Health speak volumes. What it proved once and for all to us is that once in a while a leader is born who is complete and comes with all the attributes of a good leader. Very few leaders are what Dr Sefularo was. We thank Mrs Sefularo and the family for allowing him to serve the nation.
Chairperson, hon Ministers, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Dr Motsoaledi, the Deputy Minister, Ntate Malusi Gigaba, my colleagues, MECs, hon members, in supporting Budget Vote No 15, the department, management committee and executive of the North West have developed comprehensive plans to address the Minister of Health's directives. These provincial plans guide the planning and implementation at facility level.
Every management meeting of the department and of each facility has these key elements on the agenda. A detailed operational plan containing inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes and impact is in place.
The following elements are addressed in detail in this plan. I will outline some elements of the detailed plan to illustrate that the North West department of health and social development is determined to turn the performance and perceptions of health services around.
The first of these elements is clean hospitals. A clean health care facility environment will be maintained through daily supervisory inspections and hourly inspections of high-use areas, such as public toilets in outpatient departments. Adequate budget allocations will be necessary to ensure that a sufficient number of staff is on the premises, and to cover cleaning as well as gardening contracts. Clean facilities will result in an improved image of the hospital, improved patient satisfaction, outcomes and a reduction in patient costs through reduced average length of stay and cost per patient day equivalent.
Secondly, improved patient file management will shorten patient waiting time, and improve booking and fast queue systems through development of kaizen projects, at all areas with patients waiting. There will be provision of consistent quality packages of service at each level of care, and clear referral mechanisms to ensure that cost-effective health care services with health care are delivered at the right level, at the right time and at the right amount.
We will promote active community involvement in the process by setting monitoring, displaying standards at all reception areas, and signing of new service delivery agreements with communities. Facilities will market their complaints mechanism and display monthly complaints with management responses in reception areas.
Thirdly, safe health care facilities for patients must be given. This will be achieved through implementing hospital-wide risk management plans, policies and procedures, functional patient safety groups, infection control, quality control, and occupational health and safety committees. These elements will be managed through daily risk and near-miss reports with interventions on all reported adverse events managed through a just culture system.
General security of the facilities will be maintained through closed circuit television, CCTV, surveillance of key areas, security surveillance and controls managed through service level agreements. These measures will result in a reduction in adverse events and litigation, improved patient experience, perception of public hospitals by the community as well as improved morale of staff. Additional measures are in place to address the needs of the mental health patients who have additional safety needs within the psychiatric facilities.
Fourthly, a number of initiatives are necessary to change staff attitudes for the better and to maintain this situation. These include a reinduction and reorientation of all hospital staff on organisational culture; a revision and improvement of the new improved caring ethos campaign; customer care training for all staff specific to their departments; linking attitude performance per staff member to the performance management and development system, PMDS, and performance management agreement, PMA, and appraisal scores. Each staff member will have to sign a commitment to customer service agreement, with public and peer recognition of the best customer service performers in facilities. This will result not only in improved patient experience and satisfaction regarding hospital services in the public sector, but also in safer health care facilities and fewer adverse events and litigations.
Fifthly, ongoing and sustained measures are necessary to manage infection control, prevent and reduce nosocomial infections. These include the prevention of overcrowding, correct administration of waiting patients - especially coughing patients - biohazardous waste management, maintenance and the development of infrastructure. This is to be done through the implementation of risk and infection control procedures and policies, continuous in-service training and attention to details - simple basics like washing of hands before each patient encounter. Improved infection control will result in better patient outcomes, reduced costs and reductions in the average length of stay.
Chairperson, I am not going to bore the House talking about the budgetary constraints or budget pressures that we have in the province, but all these above-mentioned measures must be implemented with the following reality in mind: The North West has the lowest per capita health funding in the country.
So, with the recent presidential and ministerial announcements regarding the implementation of the HIV counselling and testing campaign, we are going to really do this with high spirits. We want to say to the Minister that we are really behind her and we are going to make sure that this campaign succeeds. Even if there was no additional funding received for this massive intervention, all the additional resources required for this campaign and treatment expansion are going to be funded from the conditional grant. This is clearly not sustainable and not assisting the province to expand its planned HIV and Aids services, but we are going to make sure that we win this battle.
The department commits itself to strengthen quality health services through the primary health care system approach. It is important to recognise that the North West department of health and social development is experiencing financial pressures due to the inadequate funding received for the financial year 2010. The department will, however, do the best it can with the resources available.
We want to thank the Minister for the leadership and direction to all of us as MECs. I support Budget Vote No 15. Thank you. [Applause.]