The Limpopo health department has saved enough money from restructuring its staff complement to hire more specialists but is still grappling such severe personnel shortages that patients are waiting months for operations, according to its health MEC. The delays are not only traumatic for patients, but raise the risk of medico-legal claims against the department. Limpopo health MEC Phophi Ramathuba is implementing a turnaround strategy that includes a massive staff overhaul. She has slashed the number of senior managerial posts in head office and moved district managers to more hands-on roles as hospital CEO positions, saving enough money to hire 26 extra specialists. But it is far from enough to meet the demand for services, she said in an interview on Monday. “We still have serious gaps. We need 36 more specialists, 200 medical officers, 250 professional nurses and 200 enrolled and staff nurses. We also need cleaners, groundsmen, porters, laundry assistants and switchboard operator...

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