Gauteng health tackles food supply challenges at facilities

The supply constraints of certain food items at various health facilities has reached uncontrollable levels. 

In response to this challenge, the Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) has now decided to implement a process of instituting a multi-vendor approach.

GDoH reviewed the previous practice of contracting a single supplier for a broad range of items, which has proven to be the main contributing factor that led to inconsistent food supply to hospitals.

The department said patient care is not compromised by service providers who lack the required capacity to meet the needs of facilities. 

According to the department, since the beginning of 2023, some health facilities faced supply challenges in varying degrees involving items such as dairy products, red meat, fish, bread and vegetables.

Despite these challenges, the department has extended its hand to reassure families of patients and the public that in these instances there are alternative arrangements made to feed those in their care.

“[Food items] such as dumpling, mash potatoes and bread would be served in place of rice, pap and mielie rice, while for the replacement for chicken, pilchards, macaroni and cheese and beans would be used,” the department said.

Since the review process conducted by the department, many suppliers have voluntarily canned their contracts.

This allowed the GDoH to open the window for institutions as an interim measure, to procure food items on request for quotation (RFQ) to ensure unrestricted and sustained food supply for all patients.

The department has also picked up that some hospitals battled to make payments to suppliers. 

The department said: “The main issue remains the limited capacities of contracted service providers who fail to keep up with the demand of orders made by the health facilities.”

The department promised to monitor the situation closely and prioritise patients as the finalising of enlisting multiple service providers is underway.

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