Hospital CEOs moved amid graft probe
Mbombela - Three hospital chief executive officers (CEOs) in Mpumalanga have been moved to other hospitals amid allegations of corruption, mismanagement and negligence.
The provincial health and social development department has redeployed the CEOs of Tonga Hospital near Malalane, Rob Ferreira Hospital in Mbombela and Matibidi Hospital in Graskop.
“Yes, we have removed the CEOs from the hospitals, but we have not fired or suspended them," department spokesperson Dumisane Mlangeni told African Eye News Service (AENS) on Friday.
Mlangeni said the CEOs were given other responsibilities in the department's provincial or regional offices after the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) made allegations against them.
"We are still investigating the allegations raised by the union," he said.
Nehawu provincial secretary Sizwe Motha told AENS that the union called for the CEOs' removal based on real issues affecting ordinary citizens.
“We want performing and competent people to lead our hospitals and public health sector. Any non-performing and incompetent CEO must leave.
"As a union, we'll ask for his or her removal so that patients can get decent health care as guaranteed by the Constitution,” said Motha.
He said the union had received complaints from members of the public dissatisfied with services at other hospitals in the province.
“There are other hospitals where we receive complaints either from our members or the public.
For instance, when we went to Matikwane Hospital in Mkhuhlu we found patients' files lying spread out in full view of everyone. There's no privacy about patients' illnesses. It's the same thing at Matibidi," said Motha.
Provincial co-ordinator of the Treatment Action Campaign, Thandi Maluka, warned that public hospitals could not afford to rely on acting CEOs, however.
“The problem with acting CEOs is that they can't take decisions with their staff. Powers are not well invested in them as they still have to consult and by that time some lives are lost in hospital,” said Maluka.
She added that similar problems were experienced at most clinics and hospitals where an acting manager or CEO was unable to make important decisions.
"Some hospitals and clinics are understaffed because the acting person can't take decisions which may lead to lives being saved,” said Maluka.
She said this included decisions about dispensing medicine.