Frere whistle-blowing 'ethical'

2007-08-22 13:39

Johannesburg - The South African Medical Association (Sama) said on Wednesday that the "whistle-blowing" on the part of a doctor at East London's Frere Hospital was an ethical and responsible intervention.

Professor Denise White, acting chairperson of Sama said investigations were needed to establish whether or not the rights of patients had been further violated by the suspensions of two doctors.

"Sama calls on the Department of Health to appoint an independent commission of inquiry to investigate the serious state of affairs at the hospital and the factual grounds for the suspension of these two doctors," she said.

The dismissal of the two doctors would have a negative impact on morale in the public health sector.

"Sama believes that these suspensions will have a negative impact on staff morale, not only at Frere Hospital, but also on the public health sector in general."

The association said it was concerned that Frere Hospital, often the last hope for the seriously ill in that part of the Eastern Cape, would be further compromised by the suspensions.

One of the suspensions involved Dr Nokuzola Ntshona, medical superintendent at the Frere Hospital who wrote to President Thabo Mbeki, highlighting the dire situation at the hospital.

The Daily Dispatch had reported that 2 000 babies were stillborn at the hospital's maternity ward over the past 14 years and that 43 newborn babies had died in July.