Exclusive: Inside the hospitals audit

2014-02-02 14:00

Only one of 394 hospitals audited by the department of health met the accepted standards for cleanliness, infection, drug stocks, staff attitude, patient safety and waiting times.

Witrand Psychiatric Hospital in Potchefstroom, North West, alone ticked all the boxes in the massive audit of all South Africa’s hospitals and clinics.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi was appalled by some of the findings on the state of hospitals by the National Health Care Facilities Baseline Audit – particularly by the terrible showing of South Africa’s clinics.

City Press applied for the full audit results in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

The audit was conducted in 3?880 hospitals and clinics in South Africa between May 2011 and May 2012, to assess the feasibility of the proposed multi-billion rand National Health Insurance System.

Some of the worst performers were:

»?Zebediela Hospital in Limpopo, the country’s dirtiest, scoring 7% for cleanliness.

»?Richmond Chest Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal, which scored 7% for waiting times;

»?Standerton TB Hospital in Mpumalanga, which scored the lowest for staff attitude at 8%;

»?Sesifuba TB Hospital, also in Mpumalanga, which scored 10% for patient safety;

»?West End TB and Psychiatric Hospital in the Northern Cape, which scored the worst in the infection control category, at 18%; and

»?Greytown TB Hospital, also in KwaZulu-Natal, which had the worst drug stocks, at 18%.

Clinics even worse

Staff in clinics scored an average of 25% for attitude in comparison with the 47% average of their hospital counterparts.

The audit was conducted by a consortium of five bodies.

Inspectors went around the country for a year, inspecting hospital infrastructure, the condition of medical equipment, opening hours, work load, staff numbers and standards in the six priority areas.

Poor maternity wards

The inspectors found that maternity wards were a disaster.

About 93% did not have functional and essential equipment needed to keep mothers and their babies safe.

The inspectors also found that:

»?Only 32 of the 3?880 hospitals and clinics audited complied with infection control guidelines;

»?Only two facilities could guarantee patients’ safety; and,

»?Staff attitudes towards patients were the worst, scoring an average of 30%. Only a quarter of clinic staff had caring attitudes.

The best

Some performers stood out on the list.

These included:

»?Taung hospital in North West, which scored 100% for drug stocks,

»?Lehurutshe Hospital near Zeerust and Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital in Durban, which scored 100% for cleanliness,

»?Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Durban, which scored 95% for patient safety;

»?Alexandra Hospital in Cape Town, which scored 100% for infection control; and

»?Lentegeur Psychiatric Hospital in Mitchells Plain, which scored 100% for staff attitudes.

» Settlers Day Hospital in Grahamstown was one of the best, scoring 100% for staff attitude and waiting times.

Bad infection control

Dr Olga Perovic, principal pathologist at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, said she found it appalling that a hospital could score as low as 18% on infection control.

The audit findings were “a serious health risk” and meant “that the risk of cross-infection was very high”.

In response to the audit, Motsoaledi on Wednesday announced the Office of Health Standards Compliance, the board of which is chaired by surgeon Professor Lizo Mazwai and consists of medical professionals, lawyers, unionists and human rights activists.

The board will work with inspectors to recommend improvements.

SA’s best and worst hospitals

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