Patients lambast local private hospital for water supply problems

2015-09-25 10:13
Midlands Medical Centre.

Midlands Medical Centre. (File)

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Pietermaritzburg - A prestigious private private hospital has been heavily criticised by patients after poor water supply forced the ill to use other wards’ ablution facilities.

But, the Midlands Medical Centre’s claim that the intermittent water supply is the Msunduzi Municipality’s fault has been disputed by the city, who instead put the blame on the hospital.

And while this tit-for-tat spat between the city and the medical centre continues, patients said that for months the private hospital has been at the receiving end of low water supply, which resulted in “uncomfortable” trips to other wards.

“I was admitted for one week at Midlands Medical Centre and my ward was always short of water. When I wanted to use the toilet, I was taken by wheelchair to another ward. This was highly uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing,” said a patient who asked not to be named.

The patient said he found the situation “ridiculous” although managers at the six-level hospital later told him that it was the municipality’s fault.

“This is a private hospital and we are paying a bucket load to be here. If this was the case at a government hospital I guess people would be more understanding but we come to private hospitals to avoid such situations.”

Midlands Medical Centre spokesperson Kavith Harrilall said the hospital has been “negatively affected” by intermittent low water pressure supply from the municipality.

“The hospital has engaged with the Msunduzi Municipality regarding the irregular water pressure in the lower CBD of Pietermaritzburg and has regrettably received mixed feedback regarding this matter. We have had no problems with water supply previously [since the hospital’s launch] and we cannot understand why the municipal supply decreases intermittently,” said Harrilall.

He added that when the problem first began, the hospital engaged with a team of consultants to design a system to attempt to alleviate the problem.

“The project entails investing more than R1 million in order to enhance the water reticulation system. However, any such system is reliant on constant water supply at an adequate pressure and this can only be addressed by the municipality.”

Municipal acting spokesperson Madeleine Jackson denied that the water woes at the hospital were at the fault of the municipality.

She said city by-laws clearly state that no high-rise building can rely upon water pressure in the street to fill the water tanks on their roofs.

“They need to have booster pumps to fill them in case of lower pressure in the street. In addition, the tanks on the roof have to have 24-hour supply for the building to give the municipality time to repair any burst which may occur.”

Jackson added that water pressure in the CBD is controlled by smart pressure valves to minimise water loss.

She said no complaints were received at the municipality as other high-rise buildings have water tanks on their roofs.

She promised that the city will, however, investigate the matter to assist the hospital where they can

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  water affairs

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