Health MEC slams uMlazi hospital

2010-03-10 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL MEC for Health Sibongiseni Dhlomo yesterday criticised Prince Mshiyeni Hospital in uMlazi near Durban over the body of a baby that was lost from the mortuary.

He was speaking during a surprise visit there to address problems in the hospital’s antiretroviral clinic, pharmacy and mortuary departments.

Dhlomo, with head of department Dr Sibongile Zungu, chief financial officer Ndoda Biyela and senior officials of the nursing union Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa spoke with patients and staff about their concerns.

In a statement, Dhlomo said the hospital, which has featured prominently in the media in recent months, is a huge concern for his department.

He said the antiretroviral clinic, the maternity ward, pharmacy and mortuary were problem areas.

“It was shocking to hear that patients are chased away after 12 o’clock. I find this unacceptable given the catchment area serviced by the hospital and our goal to keep patients on antiretroviral (ARV) therapy. I’m glad to announce that this anomaly has since changed,” he said.

Long queues and delays at the pharmacy are also a problem, although this has been resolved by the department.

“The stories of long queues and patients ‘toyi-toyi[ing]’ have been the feature of the hospital’s pharmacy. I have also been told that the manager has frequently disrupted all measures being put in place by the district,” he said.

Patients are now receiving their medication on time.

Dhlomo and his team also spent time in the maternity ward, which sees around 1 200 babies delivered in a month.

“We are aware that the majority of cases brought before the South African Nursing Council of negligence of nurses are in labour and maternity wards. I found it surprising that our nurses do not use partograms [charts to track labour],” he said.

He added that KwaZulu-Natal should be at the forefront of maternity care.

Dhlomo also lambasted the hospital’s mortuary where a baby’s corpse disappeared recently.

“The story of the disappearance of a baby from the mortuary is astounding. The manner in which the whole matter was handled is a cause for concern,” he said.

The baby’s body has still not been found. Dhlomo has given the hospital a week to report back to him about the matter.

He also wants to visit the grieving family to offer an explanation as to what happened to the baby.

He said it is unacceptable that people are denied their right to proper healthcare.

“Increasing attention needs to be paid to clinical excellence in service provision as a basis for good health outcomes,” Dhlomo added.

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