Gauteng health forcing poor to pay - claim

Johannesburg - The Gauteng department of health is under fire for allegedly privatising healthcare at hospitals at the expense of the poor, it was reported on Friday.

The Times reported that elderly patients, who are legally allowed free spectacles, are being forced to pay a private company contracted by the department and also have to pay for eye tests.

Patients at an East Rand hospital said after a hospital optometrist had prescribed spectacles, they were given a form that instructed them to deposit almost R500 into the company's bank account.

The provincial health department said it would investigate the claims.

Just days ago, Gauteng’s health MEC, Qedani Mahlangu, criticised public servants at clinics on the East Rand for alleged slow service delivery and neglect.

Mahlangu said during a visit to local clinics that she would not hesitate to take action against nurses accused of neglecting patients, Eyewitness News reported.

Last month Mahlangu announced that the provincial department’s budget was R31.5bn, Sapa reported.