Madonsela visits Pietermaritzburg hospital

By Drum Digital
14 August 2013

A number of complaints regarding health care were made to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela when she visited Edendale Hospital in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, on Tuesday, her office said. During the surprise visit, a woman told Madonsela her uncle died last year after the ambulance requested did not arrive, Madonsela's spokeswoman Kgalalelo Masibi said in a statement. The family were allegedly told they needed to arrange their own transport for the man, because they lived relatively near to the hospital. "Another woman alleged that a man, who had arrived at the hospital in an ambulance, died while seated on a wheelchair because medical staff at the hospital failed to afford him the necessary medical attention upon his arrival." Madonsela and her deputy, Kevin Malunga, were visiting the province as part of her office's "annual national stakeholder dialogue". Nurses at the hospital claimed that poor ambulance services contributed to the number of maternal deaths there. The hospital's maternal mortality rate was between 300 and 400 per 100,000. "Long waiting periods in queues; files, including x-ray sheets that go missing; inadequate staff, insufficient space and ageing equipment... were some of the other issues that came up," Masibi said. The hospital responded, saying the population it served had grown significantly in the 60 years since it was established. Chief executive Zanele Ndwandwe said more doctors, nurses, pharmacists and radiographers were needed. Madonsela said: "In respect of those [complaints], we are firstly going to allow the hospital to do the investigation and we will review that investigation to make sure that if there was wrongdoing the family can get closure and redress." Also on Tuesday, Madonsela met local residents at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall.

"[Some] complained about land claims, lack of government support for local sporting activities, underdevelopment, grants for early childhood development centres and alleged heavy-handedness of management at the local FET College."

-by Sapa

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