Mabuza blasts health officials

Monday, November 5, 2012

Delmas - Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza has threatened to fire Department of Health officials over the shocking state of public hospitals in the province.

Mabuza, who is on a mission to visit 32 hospitals in the province, visited nine hospitals in the Nkangala district municipality around Middleburg at the weekend.

He was shocked to learn that Bernice Samuel Hospital in Delmas has no fridges to store certain medicines while the cold room in the hospital mortuary does not work, causing corpses to rot.

"It is high time that we should stop being defensive and prioritise the health of our people. Those who are given the responsibility of ensuring that our people get health care should do so or else we will relieve them if they cannot do their work," said Mabuza.

Mabuza said people should not be treated in such a manner.

"As a provincial government we want the hospitals to function and serve our people correctly, otherwise we are saying when people are sick they should come and die in our hospitals.

"It cannot be right that people would prefer to stay home simply because they are afraid that when they come to government hospitals, they will die before they are attended to," said Mabuza.

During his visit, he discovered that there were 52 beds with only four sisters who ended up doing the work of auxiliary nurses. The sisters were continuously working overtime as there were no extra staff members to relieve them.

Although the situation differed from one hospital to the other, Mabuza discovered that staff and equipment shortages were a major problem in all the nine hospitals.

He has asked the managers of the hospitals to submit a list of all their needs to the provincial director-general's office and to the Department of Health in order for urgent intervention to be given.

"You need to write down a list of the needs in your hospital, direct it to the director-general of the province. The provincial government has lifted the moratorium on all posts and they should have employed more staff members," said Mabuza.

Sisters at Bernice Samuel Hospital told the premier that they were mostly depressed as the situation was worsening day by day. They did not have painkillers in the hospital, such as Panado, for four months. There were also not enough antibiotics.

The premier also learned that nurses were generally not interested in working at the hospital as there was no safe accommodation in the area, while the nurse's home was fully occupied.

In some of the hospitals Mabuza visited, people stood in long queues and others did not have enough medication.

Mabuza was distressed to see admitted patients being served with only a slice of brown bread with small portions of chicken livers for breakfast.

"Inasmuch as we would want to say we are providing health care, we are deliberately killing our people when we make them default on treatment because we cannot give them medication for their chronic diseases," said the Premier. - SAnews.gov.za

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