“The South African health system cannot run without high quality management and leadership, if we are to achieve excellence and successful implementation of the goals,” said Motsoaledi.
He said that the main purpose of the Academy was to address skills gaps at all levels, including clinical and hospital management and would oversee the training of managers at various levels of the health system.
One of the Academy’s tasks will be to undertake a competency assessment of key post holders and develop a ‘gap analysis’ for leadership and management development and strategy to address weaknesses.
Public sector hospitals and clinics are constantly in the news over various failures and in many cases the hospital managers are blamed for the breakdowns.
Earlier this year the national health department advertised the CEO posts at 97 hospitals in all the provinces. The Western Cape was later excluded from the process. Most of the CEOs were required to re-apply for their posts and it was expected that a number of them would not be sucessful as they do not have the necessary skills.
Motsoaledi has spoken openly about his preference to have CEOs with a medical background running hospitals.
He revealed yesterday that they have shortlisted 367 candidates and that interviews were currently underway. The successful candidates would commence their training with the Academy in January.
It is understood that in some of the provinces the department has been struggling to attract competent applicants and have resorted to head hunting.
Motsoaledi announced that current dean of the University of Cape Town Health Sciences faculty, Professor Marian Jacobs will head the Advisory Committee. Jacbos is retiring from her university leadership position at the end of this year.
Other members include Lord Nigel Crisp, Member of the Britsh House of Lords and National Health Systems expert; Dr Ayanda Ntsaluba, Executive Director for Discovery Health and former Director General of Health; Prof. Eric Buch, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences in the University of Pretoria and a former manager in the Gauteng health department; Prof Lucy Gilson, University of Cape Town School of Public Health and Family Medicine and an international health systems expert; Prof Zephne van der Spuy, University of Cape Town Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and Head of Postgraduate Education and Research; Michael Sinclair, Harvard University in Boston, formerly of the Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation; Prof Craig Househam, Head of Health in the Western Cape; Prof. Noddy Jinabhai, University of KwaZulu-Natal; Prof Davide Croce, Director Carlo Cattaneo University Castellanza in Italy; Dr Brigalia Bam, the former Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission, and now the Secretary-General of the South African Council of Churches; Dr Zola Njongwe, University of Johannesburg; Dr Bob Fryatt, Senior Advisor from DFID; and Dr Brigid Stracham, Secretariate, Department of Health.
Motsoaledi was quick to point out that they were not establishing a univerity, but a “virtual institution of training”, adding that the Academy will be able to accredit those managers who successfully completed their training, similar to surgeons or other specialists.
He explained that among others district managers, hospital CEOs and Deputy Director Generals would have to undergo training with the Academy and would only be able to apply for positions or promotions once they are accredited.
Motsoaledi said that district health managers were critical positions and that they were hoping that the Academy traning would assist in building capacity at this level, which was a critical aspect in the tranformation of the health system.
The minister also said that CEOs would only be appointed once they have undergone the training.
“If I am to offer any advice for the Academy at this stage – and the team that is going to manage it – then perhaps I can offer the words of Sir Isaac Newton, acclaimed as the greatest scientist who ever lived. He said ‘If I have seen further, then it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.’,” said Motsoaledi. – Health-e News Service