SAHRC pinpoints problems at public sector hospitals

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The Gauteng MEC of Infrastructure Development, Tasneem Motara, has dispatched a joint team of officials from her department and the Gauteng Health Department to assess and resolve the widely reported problems at the oncology ward of the busy Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria, reports The Citizen.

“Upon conducting an investigation, it was discovered that the system was down due to the faulty circulation pump. An order has subsequently been issued to replace the faulty pump. In the meantime, however, the department of infrastructure development has immediately instructed our own contractor to implement repairs and get the system running as soon as possible,” said Gauteng infrastructure development’s Bongiwe Gambu.

She said MEC Motara had also expressed her regret for the inconvenience caused to the patients and workers at Steve Biko Academic Hospital oncology ward.

The report says earlier this month, acting CEO of the Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Dr Mathabo Mathebula, denied allegations that the hospital’s oncology ward was under-capacitated and on the verge of collapse. “We need to clarify that at no stage was there a shutdown. At no stage was there any machines broken down, it was the air conditioning that was being repaired and we battled to fix it,” she said at the time.

“It got repaired over time for two months, it was being repaired by the department of infrastructure until we resorted to calling the machine manufacturers to install the air cooling system that is now working,” Mathebula said.

The report says Mathebula addressed media at the busy hospital after the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) conducted a site inspection at the facility following the widespread allegations.

 

The SAHRC is, meanwhile, not happy about what it observed during a walkabout at Dr George Mukhari Hospital‘s psychiatric ward on Tuesday, reports News24. The commission visited the hospital, in the north of Pretoria, following a complaint it had received from the Public Servants Administration (PSA).

The PSA alleged the psychiatric ward was overcrowded, mental health patients did not have proper beds and blankets, with some having to sleep on the floor. There were also not enough ablution facilities. It also complained about construction work at the ward, with patients having to endure the ongoing noise.

The report says following the walkabout, the commission’s Gauteng manager, Buang Jones, raised concerns about the patients’ well-being during the construction work. He also raised concerns about the non-performance of the contractor because the renovations have taken a long time and were not in accordance with the hospital’s specifications. It was impacting on the well-being of the patients, Buang said.

He added that he could not make a pronouncement on whether there were sufficient beds in the ward or if the care and infrastructure complied with the norms and standards, adding that an independent opinion would be obtained. This was because the hospital was informed of the commission’s planned visit, so they had sufficient time to prepare, Buang suggested.

“At the moment, the hospital is not in dire straits, but I cannot say I am satisfied with what I observed.”

The report says the hospital’s acting CEO, Professor John Ndimande, conceded that there had been issues concerning the psychiatric ward, but said they were being tackled. “We have had problems with our mental health unit, but we are addressing the problems that the patients are facing,” Ndimande said. He added that one of the issues was the contractor, but that improvements have been made.

Ndimande said in the report that once the renovations were completed, with the possible addition of a wing, the ward would be in a position to accommodate more patients. He added that the patients were being well-looked after and the standard of care that mental health patients were receiving was good.

The Citizen report
News24 report


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