Nurses must be held liable - Denosa
Johannesburg - Nurses should be held accountable for the ill-treatment and abuse of pregnant patients, the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) said on Wednesday.
"We wish to emphasise that, as an organisation, we strongly advocate for quality patient care and therefore do not condone any ill-treatment of patients by health care workers," said Denosa spokesperson Asanda Fongqo.
Denosa was responding a Human Rights Watch (HRW) study released on Monday on maternity care failures
The study was based on interviews conducted with patients, human rights experts and government officials between August 2010 and April 2011.
It quoted women who claimed to have been assaulted, ignored and refused admission by hospital staff while they were in labour.
One of them told researchers that nurses had forced her to clean a hospital floor after she bled during childbirth.
Fongqo said the incidents of abuse would be resolved only if the entire health care system was interrogated.
"We are concerned about our health system, hence we will continue to empower nurses on professionalism, [and] engage government on how we can overhaul and improve the quality of care given to our people," he said.
"We are heartened by the Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi's optimism in improving the said status and we commit ourselves in working with his department in overcoming these challenges."
Motsoaledi said plans to re-engineer the health care system were passed last week.
Under the new system, every district in the country would have a seat for a permanent gynaecologist and principal midwife.
"We need health workers that respect the basic rights of patients, and these new posts will provide competent people who will be responsible and accountable for instances of abuse," Motsoaledi said.