Opposition KZN hospital oversight visits blocked

Organisation: Position: Deadline Date: Location:

The Democratic Alliance – set to do oversight visits at Addington and Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal – were denied access to the medical facilities.

The Mercury reports that the team led by Patricia Kopane, the national DA spokesperson for health, and Dr Imran Keeka, the DA KZN’s health spokesperson, were barred by hospital officials from entering Addington Hospital on Monday morning.

The report says the political party said at the weekend that it would not rest until the South African Human Rights Commission’s recommendations on the oncology crisis in KwaZulu-Natal were fully implemented. The visit was related to this investigation.

Kopane on Sunday said they would scrutinise the report to ensure that all those responsible for the crisis were held to account. “To date, there has been very little justice for those who lost their lives as a result of the gross negligence of local health officials – despite the binding recommendations in the SAHRC report, and patients living with cancer in KZN continue to face an uncertain future,” said Kopane.

Keeka laid the complaint against the KZN Department of Health with the commission. “We are going to check on the progress made to fulfil the commitments made by the MEC (Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo) to cancer patients about three weeks ago.” Keeka said they were going to hear cancer patients’ experiences and see how the assistance provided by private oncologists was going.

According to the report, in his executive statement to the provincial legislature, Dhlomo announced that Rainbow Oncologists had committed to helping the department with an obstetrics and gynaecology clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while Joint Medical Holdings committed the services of two oncologists to run clinics twice a week at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital at no cost to the department. Hopelands Oncologists was also in the process of coming on board to assist.

“We are going to look at how the assistance of private oncologist has impacted on cancer patients’ lives, and how they are operating,” said Keeka.

Dhlomo had also announced that they were waiting for clearance from the National Foreign Workforce Office for the appointment of a foreign applicant who was an oncologist originally from Libya, trained and qualified at the University of KZN, but currently based in the UK. “Her husband is also an orthopaedic surgeon with an oncology sub-specialty from Canada,” Dhlomo said.

Kopane is quoted in the report as saying that the commission had tabled the report for the parliamentary portfolio committee on health to scrutinise. “The DA will do everything possible during this process to ensure that justice is served for the gross failures that this report exposes,” she said.

The Mercury report

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