Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

The DA has called on Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi to urgently intervene in what it says is a "looming national pathology strike".

DA health spokesperson Patricia Kopane said in a statement on Tuesday that the pending strike followed an admission by the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) that it would not be able to meet the 7.3% salary increase demanded by pathology professionals and their trade unions.

The NHLS was only able to offer 3%.

"It is crucial that arrangements are made with private laboratories in advance, as a strike at the NHLS will be devastating for patients in need of urgent tests for HIV/AIDS, malaria, cancer and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis," Kopane said.

She added that the strike could have "devastating consequences", as the NHLS was responsible for more than 80% of the country’s pathology diagnostic services.

Kopane said Motsoaledi should provide a detailed plan of action to deal with the consequences of the strike.

A strike by about 180 forensic assistants in Gauteng ended when the provincial health department promised to reverse their remuneration scales to their pre-2010 levels.

The forensic assistants had embarked on industrial action, claiming they were underpaid and doing work they were not qualified for.

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