‘We drag our feet with tender while cancer patients suffer’, says the department

Henry

The Gauteng Department of Health denies damning allegations in the media that it is dragging its feet with the finalization of a tender for the outsourcing of radiation services for breast and prostate cancer patients.

The department maintains the tender – which was advertised in October – is at an “advanced stage” of finalisation.

Motalatale Modiba, spokesperson for the department, says the relevant tender was advertised on 20 October last year and applications closed on 3 November.

“The department started the evaluation of the tender on 21 November 2023 and finished it on 16 January 2024. The department is currently awaiting the integrity auditor’s review of the integrity of the tender process.

“Although the department understands the urgency and importance of completing the procurement process to ensure that patients receive the necessary care, it is essential to note that the government’s supply chain processes must be followed, as set out in the Public Financial Management Act .

“The Gauteng Department of Health can testify that the evaluation process was thorough and meticulous to ensure that the best possible service provider is selected,” says Modiba.

The answer follows the allegations that nearly 3,000 patients being treated for cancer at the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg are suffering because a treatment agreement with private hospitals has apparently not been finalised.

Jack Bloom, the DA’s spokesperson for health in Gauteng, said earlier this week that the provincial department of health has not yet provided any information about the tender and at this stage it is unclear whether the tender has indeed been awarded.

RNews previously reported that R784 million was budgeted last year to curb the backlog in surgical and radiation oncology services.

Modiba now says R534 million of this amount will be spent during the current financial year on equipment such as the latest linear accelerator machines and the construction of bunkers for some of the machines.

“In addition, R250 million has been allocated for the outsourcing of the radiation oncology tender which is in an advanced stage of finalisation.

“The Gauteng Department of Health rejects any false and misleading claims being published about the alleged delays and assures the public that provision of high quality healthcare services for all patients in Gauteng remains our highest priority,” says Modiba.