Durban hospitals need toilet training

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A Sunday Tribune report has put KwaZulu-Natal hospitals and the Health Department under a spotlight. The facilities visited included Addington Hospital, one of Durban’s best-known state health-care facilities, which has been embroiled in allegations of mismanagement, corruption, lack of essential equipment, and staff shortages in the past. The report notes that the façade of the grande dame of Durban hospitals has undergone a dramatic facelift but inside the changes were happening a lot more slowly. It says, however, that all in all, it is a thumbs-up for the hospital’s administrators. Finally, after many broken promises, it would appear that Addington Hospital has turned the corner. If the rejuvenation of the interior meets the standards of its current service, Durbanites will be able to visit the facility with confidence in future, the report says.

The Mahatma Gandhi Hospital in Phoenix was previously ranked among the country’s five worst hospitals and its doors were nearly shut on a few occasions over the past decade. Poor service delivery and appalling hygiene conditions were issues that plagued the state hospital. The report says, however, that although it has not undergone a radical metamorphosis, its standards of operating and overall cleanliness have improved, according to some of the patients who spoke to the Sunday Tribune.

At Prince Mshiyeni Hospital in uMlazi, despite friendly staff, patients are still concerned about the lack of resources and long queues before receiving the help they need. The hospital has seen a number of negative reports in the past stemming from alleged staff negligence which has led to untimely deaths.

Wentworth Hospital services the communities of Bluff, Wentworth and Merebank and though the hospital is clean, it is run down and in need of an upgrade.

And, the report says, while some patients were pleased with the service delivery at RK Khan Hospital, others said that conditions needed to be improved.

There were mixed reactions by patients about the service delivery and hygiene at King Edward VIII Hospital. Some were unhappy with service delivery and “would not recommend the hospital to anyone”, while others praised it for “doing the best it could with few resources”.

The report says that the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health admits that it has challenges at some of its institutions, but that it would be an exaggeration to say that such challenges are universal, as some may want to believe. It says it is important when dealing with matters of health in KZN to note that the department services more than 9m health care users with more than 90% of the province relying on public health services. That notwithstanding, the report points out that the standard of health care has improved tremendously in KZN. It says this will be further enhanced by the re-engineering of Primary Health Care, which will ensure that diseases are nipped in the bud in order to keep the citizens of the province healthy.

Full Sunday Tribune report (subscription needed)

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