Health MEC admits to laundry neglect

2012-09-14 18:01


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Durban - KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo admitted on Friday that his department had neglected the laundry services at provincial hospitals.

"In terms of maintenance support and laundry services we have not been where we should be. The money was spent elsewhere," Dhlomo said.

He was speaking at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital in Durban, after reports of a shortage of linen at provincial hospitals.

On Monday the Mercury newspaper reported that all provincial hospitals were battling to get clean operating theatre linen because the provincial health department's largest laundry, at Sea Cow Lake in Durban, had broken down.

Doctors at Addington Hospital in Durban reportedly threatened to close down operating theatres if the health department did not act to provide clean linen.

"When there are pressing issues in any department you tend to focus on things that are pressing; there are more than 1.7 million people living with HIV in the country and over a third of them are receiving anti-retroviral treatment in the province," Dhlomo said.

The four laundry centres in KwaZulu-Natal included Prince Mshiyeni Memorial hospital, Dundee, Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital and Sea Cow Lake.


Dhlomo said the centre at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital was huge and would be provided with maintenance so that it could sustain services to all institutions.

The centre at Inkosi Albert Luthuli was also functioning well, he said.

"Sea Cow Lake is well over 35 years old and will need a huge revamp; in the meantime all institutions will be given a small machine to use," Dhlomo said.

He said this was to allow essential and critical laundry used in operating theatres to be washed.

"If there is any hospital that is unable to do operations, it will be out of choice. The machines at Sea Cow Lake and Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital are adequate to wash linen used in theatres," Dhlomo said.

He said there could be delays but the department would work on them.

"I cannot guarantee that the linen will not run out of stock, but there should be no hospital that should not carry out an operation; if they do so, they are doing it out of poor management," Dhlomo said.

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