Concern about services at Mpuma hospital

2013-03-27 14:07

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Johannesburg - Unions at Middelburg Hospital raised concerns on Wednesday about the facility's ability to provide emergency services to road accident victims over the Easter long weekend.

"We don't want money, we want the government to give us more staff," said Patricia Mabena, National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (Nupsaw) co-ordinator.

Nupsaw has warned that the hospital is on a main route to Mbombela, Maputo and Swaziland.

"The freeway passing through this area is carrying increased traffic, but due to the dire need of medical staff the hospital won't be able to assist the victims of road accidents efficiently," Nupsaw said in a separate statement.

Nupsaw said it, the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu), the Democratic Nurses Organisation of SA (Denosa), and the doctors of the SA Medical Association gave a memorandum stating their concerns to the minister of health on Monday.

Go-slow warning


They warned Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi of their intention to embark on a go-slow and to "seal" the human resources department until action was taken.

The minister forwarded the memorandum to the province's health MEC, Candith Mashego-Dlamini.

Mashego-Dlamini addressed management and then later the nursing staff, and is expected to return to Middelburg Hospital later on Wednesday for further talks.

Mabena said the human resources offices were at first locked by unions on Tuesday, but the keys were later returned.

A provincial health department spokesperson was not immediately available for comment and the national health department spokesperson said he would try to find out what was happening.

A telephonist at the hospital said no management staffers were present on Wednesday, which Mabena, who works there, echoed.

Workforce ‘taking a heavy toll’

She said that besides management not being present, services were carrying on as normal.

Denosa spokesperson Sibongiseni Delihlazo said staff felt that the current workforce was taking a heavy toll on them.

"Specifically now that we are approaching Easter weekend, equipment such as intravenous drips are in very short supply," he said.

"It is along the N4, which is busy. If there are no drips then that spells disaster."

There had also been poor planning to fill vacancies brought on by nurses' retirements, he added.
Read more on:    mbombela  |  health and safety

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