More than a quarter of Bara staff absent on any given day

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Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, one of the largest in the world, has the lowest staff attendance of the seven largest hospitals in Gauteng.

According to an IoL report, Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku made these damning revelations in his written replies to questions by Jack Bloom, Democratic Alliance (DA) spokesperson on health in the province. Masuku said last year alone the hospital recorded only 72% of staff attendance.

He said the Helen Joseph Hospital has the highest staff attendance at 93%, followed by the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg and Tembisa hospitals with 89% attendance rate. The Kalafong Hospital’s attendance rate stood at 87%, followed by Steve Biko Hospital at 86% and George Mukhari at 83%.

According to Masuku, the low attendance rate was mainly due to “staff on sick leave including those who are on the PlLlR – the policy and procedure on incapacity leave and ill-health retirement to assist departments in managing incapacity leave and ill-health retirement – and family responsibility leave”. The MEC also said that his department would improve resource allocation and the workplace environment by means of focusing more on human resources and labour relation practices.

In reaction, Bloom is quoted in the report as saying Masuku was cautious about which category of staff has the lowest attendance, but according to unconfirmed data for the last two years, it appeared that nurses have the lowest attendance rate. The Health Department regarded 90% attendance as acceptable, but six of the seven largest public hospitals in Gauteng did not meet this standard.

Bloom notes “Masuku is cautious about which category of staff has the lowest attendance, but according to unconfirmed data for the last two years it appears that nurses have the lowest attendance rate”. Explaining the impact of the staff attendance, Bloom said in a report in The Times: “Low attendance rates put a lot of strain on the staff who remain, depressing their morale and the quality of patient care.”

He added: “There is a particular problem at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital where staff attendance is shockingly low, which is probably due to poor management and low staff morale.

“Our hospitals are highly stressed environments, so staff need to be managed properly to assist them in their jobs but also disciplined when they are absent without good reason or abuse sick leave.”

Full IoL report

Full report in The Times

Jack Bloom statement

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