The 551-bed Jubilee District Hospital, north of Pretoria, has listed high on Gauteng’s dangerous hospitals list, with almost as many serious adverse events (SAEs) resulting in patient, harm as the 3,000 bed Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto.
Pretoria News reports that the hospital scored high during an assessment of provincial hospitals with serious adverse events (SAEs), brought about by an act of commission, or omission, rather than by the underlying disease or condition of the patient. The figures pertained to 2015.
The events included negligence, staff incompetence and system failure, a Democratic Alliance report said. The party’s shadow MEC for health, Jack Bloom, said there was big concern over the fact that the small 551-bed facility had 51 SAEs, not far fewer than the 62 recorded at the much bigger 3 000-bed Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto. He said: “Jubilee Hospital is the most dangerous hospital in Gauteng, as it recorded 51 SAEs despite being much smaller than Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.”
“An SAE is typically caused by a medical mistake that resulted in serious injury or even death. It should be investigated properly, with disciplinary and other measures taken to ensure patient safety is always given a high priority.”
He said Tembisa Hospital used to have the highest SAEs – 71 in 2013 – but had reduced those to 17 in 2015, an indication that bad incidents could be brought down with management changes.
The report says Jubilee Hospital made news in 2011 when five premature babies died due to negligence.
Spokesperson for the Department of Health, Steve Mabona, said, however, that recent adverse effects at Jubilee Hospital were the result of late referrals from clinics for people with complications.
The report says Jubilee District Hospital is a 551-designated beds hospital, but only 446 are in use. It serves a population of 355 905 in North West and 524 632 in Gauteng, according to District Health Information. The hospital is a support base for 32 clinics, 11 in Gauteng and 21 in North West.
Elim Hospital is a government health care facility operated by the Limpopo Department of Health, situated in Mpheni village, Elim. It caters for the entire Vhembe area and was once reputed to be the best hospital in the district, particularly for patients suffering eye problems. As a provincial hospital, it renders free health services to pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as all babies and children under the age of six. Other patients are charged according to government hospital rates.
But recently, reports Health-e News, complaints against the hospital have emerged. Patients claim they are being left naked in open wards due to a shortage of hospital wear, and have to use their own clothes from home. The waiting area at reception is littered with rubbish and used nappies that have not been removed for week.
The report said a visit to the hospital found dirty nappies scattered around one of the waiting areas. Both patients and hospital staff said the area had been left filthy since December.
A nurse, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of losing her job, said: “The situation at this hospital is very poor. Patients are being treated like animals. If you move around the wards you will see many of them are naked. The hospital is also very dirty – like the hospital does not have cleaners.”
A DA representative in the area, Sylvester Mulaudzi, said numerous complaints about the poor conditions had been lodged with the hospital management for months, but nothing was being done.
Derick Kganyago, spokesperson for the Limpopo Department of Health, said in the report that the department was not aware of the issues but promised to investigate further to determine what is happening at Elim Hospital.
“We know only that the hospital experienced water problems for couple of days in December, which might have disrupted their laundry. But as far as I know, that problem is a thing of the past now. But I promise that we will do further investigations into the matter. Used nappies left lying around is not acceptable and should be dealt with as a matter of emergency,” he said.