Gauteng health set to kill millions in old debt

MORE than R200-million will be paid to hospital suppliers this month in a bid to clear debts incurred over the years, the Gauteng health department said yesterday.

The R202-million allocation for this month follows the R600-million paid out in December, spokesman Simon Zwane said.

The payments were managed through cash flow allocations the department received from the provincial treasury.

National Treasury was helping the department sort out its budget.

The health department owes providers for services delivered as far back as 2007. Some were forced to shut down as a result.

In his report last week, Auditor-General Terence Nombembe found that the Gauteng department of health and social development had incurred R2.2-billion in irregular expenditure for 2010-2011.

Earlier this month, the SA Medical Device Industry Association said medical suppliers were owed R403.8-million by the department.

Zwane said a meeting was held with Samed yesterday. A follow-up meeting was scheduled for tomorrow.

"Up to November 2011 an amount of R108-million had been paid to Samed members," he said.

In an effort to reduce accruals, a team has been set up, comprising officials from the provincial health and finance department.

Zwane said the issue of reducing accruals would be dealt with in phases. The intention was to clear most accruals by the end of June this year.