Note to Editors: The following remarks were delivered today by DA Shadow Minister of Health Dr Wilmot James MP and DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Health Dr Heinrich Volmink MP, at a press conference in Parliament.
A DA national oversight tour of 9 major hospitals has revealed shocking conditions requiring a full-scale investigation from the Ombud in the Office of Health Standards Compliance.
The Ombud must assess these hospitals against the backdrop of the National Core Standards (NCS) which Minister Motsoaledi’s office established in 2011, and report to the Portfolio Committee on Health its findings.
The DA conducted unannounced oversight visits to a sample of nine hospitals in the respective provinces to assess basic conditions, staff shortages, essential medicines shortages and the effects of load shedding on the healthcare system. The majority of these hospitals did not comply with the NCS.
Our findings in some places were shocking and extremely disheartening (Click here for images and further findings). The worst hospitals identified were, Pelanomi Hospital in Bloemfontein, Rob Ferreira Hospital in Nelspruit and the Klerksdorp Tshepong Hospital Complex in the North West Province.
This hospital is a medical catastrophe. A visit there on Sunday 6 March revealed that there is no access control. The broken fence that allowed the rape of a nurse some years ago is still severed at multiple points
A very long line of sick patients – some very seriously and including senior citizens – had accumulated at casualty with a waiting time of 6 hours because only 2 doctors were on duty in an establishment experiencing grave staff shortages
Because the budget has been depleted at the end of 2014, there is a chronic shortage of medicines including painkillers for victims of accidents
Medical waste was in evidence, not properly segregated and
Outside oxygen tanks were not properly secured. Entrances to where generators were housed were not properly locked.
Rob Ferreira Hospital:
The DA has discovered that the hospital’s generators have not been working since July 2014
When the electricity goes off nursing staff and doctors are expected to keep critical patients, including new born babies, alive by manually bagging patients to keep them breathing until the electricity comes back on
The batteries in the ventilators are also not working, adding to the difficulty of keeping patients alive without electricity
Secondary infections within the hospital are increasing and it is suspected that it is a result of rising temperatures because of the broken air conditioners
According to a physician at the hospital, Mr Sibusiso Nkosi, died as a direct result of load-shedding. He said that Nkosi, who had fallen into a diabetic coma, couldn’t be ventilated due to a power failure and consequently died. “The machine used to suck phlegm from the throat didn’t work and we therefore couldn’t ventilate him successfully,” we were told.
Klerksdorp Tshepong Hospital Complex:
The hospital urgently needs a new boiler, it is operating with one boiler and the company responsible for maintenance has been a no show since the other boiler broke down
The hospital has a shortage of beds for patients as the hospital is overcrowded and services community members from across the province and
There is an ongoing shortage of essential medicines at the hospital – and in order to make up for this, the hospital sources medicines from the Wilmedpark and Ancron Hospitals.
Minister Motsoaledi should stop paying lip service to these standards his office set. Using the findings of the Ombud he would do well by crafting a turnaround strategy to present before the Portfolio Committee.
The Portfolio Committee together with the findings of the Ombud would thus be empowered to:
Summon the relevant MEC of Health and the respective Hospitals’ Senior Management to account for non-compliance with the NCS and
Request Annual – Performance, Financial and Strategic Plans from the Hospital Management.
We need to improve accountability and transparency at South Africa’s hospitals. Everyone has the right to know what the conditions and financial and performance results are at these public institutions.
The DA believes that an investigation by the Ombud into these provincial hospitals will provide a wealth of information to the Minister of Health and the South African medical community in order to ensure that hospitals comply with the NCS and to avert hospitals from crumbling entirely.
We will continue to push for measures within the Department of Health that will ensure greater accountability and transparency, both of which are enshrined in our constitution.
DA Federal Chairperson
Source : Democratic Alliance