News24

Whistleblowing doctors in trouble

2012-07-02 22:36

Johannesburg - Eastern Cape health authorities have acted against three doctors who allegedly spoke about the state of hospital infrastructure in the province.

"The doctors have not been charged yet, but have been asked to give reasons why action cannot be taken against them," provincial health spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said on Monday.

"They held a press briefing without authority. This is not about them talking to the media."

The doctors allegedly spoke to the media about the poor state of equipment at Dora Nginza, Livingstone and Port Elizabeth provincial hospitals.

However, the SA Medical Association (Sama) insisted the doctors had been charged.

"Kupelo is just playing with words. They have charged them. They are just now following standard labour practice," Sama chairperson Mark Sonderup said.

"Appreciating the desperate situation in which they find themselves, we fully support our members’ actions."

He said the Eastern Cape health department had to be reminded that doctors had a moral and ethical duty to point out deficiencies that would cause harm to patients.

"This is not a political issue, it is an ethical one," said Sonderup.

"Instead of the high-handed approach being taken by the department, we call on them to meaningfully engage so that the endemic problems in this department can be attended to."

Last week, the department denied being unable to maintain equipment at state hospitals in the province.

The Dispatch Online earlier reported the department had a R22bn infrastructure and maintenance backlog, which was crippling service delivery.

Comments
  • Nicholas - 2012-07-02 23:10

    Like they would have been given permission to speak out had they asked?

      sean.lambie.3 - 2012-07-02 23:53

      Once again , the government proves how bloody incompetent they are !! It is sickening !!

      Amanda - 2012-07-03 02:12

      @Sean - not incompetence. It's exactly what the ANC wants for their people.

      Hermann - 2012-07-03 06:30

      @Nicholas ... you miss the point - killing the messenger solves all problems.

      mike.boylen - 2012-08-03 12:03

      I once approached top management about conditions in a hospital I was working in. I was told that if I valued my job I should keep my mouth shut.

  • sharon.erwin.96 - 2012-07-02 23:21

    What would the charges be, speaking the truth? I suppose to a politician telling the truth would be a novel concept...

      Mark - 2012-07-03 02:39

      They will charge them with 'brigning the department into disrepute'. It's really disgusting, because they twist the meaning of this provision all around South Africa. It's not the people who actually cause the terrible circumstances at hospitals, universities, schools and government departments that get it in the neck, it's the courageous people who stand up and make these reprobates and their heinous actions known to the public. I know... it happened to me once. The ANC and its cronies only want to keep up appearances - they have no desire to provide meaningful services, and anyone who challenges the pretense of competence is harshly dealt with and made to look like a 'racist' or 'counter-revolutionary'. Pathetic.

  • Theo Ferreira - 2012-07-03 00:13

    Let's hope no Limpopo teacher mentions a lack of textbooks, they may get fired. Not the person who failed to arrange for the textbooks, no.. That person gets to tell the newspaper "they have no idea of the stupid things I is capable of". Wow... I feel for the poor doctors though, they deserve better.

  • Frank - 2012-07-03 01:21

    Arrest Sizwe Kupelo for covering up

  • Gerry Klos - 2012-07-03 02:11

    Amazing how this useless government of ours (ANC = Absolutely No Credibility) fornicates around. Who suffers? The people. Yet they are so dumb, that they vote for the ANC. No hope for South Africa,

      jones.mkandawire - 2012-07-03 07:07

      viva ANC

      Don.Tandy - 2012-07-03 08:27

      Anarchy Nepotism Corruption

      jman.man.71 - 2012-07-03 09:07

      @ Jones.M - you just proved Gerry's point. Twice.

  • Terrence.dejager - 2012-07-03 04:33

    Not only do the ANC actively strive to keep their voters uneducated (irrelevant of their messaging), they also actively keep good medical care out of reach. Logically, if a doctor tasked with saving lives tells SAMA the working environment is ineffective then it warrants review - it's likely they're telling the truth. And by the way, there are few enough doctors as it is - don't alienate them because they'll just bugger off.

      john.lonsdale.5 - 2012-07-03 07:24

      Sorry to burst your bubble, but because of the state of our higher education, doctors from SA can no longer practice as a Doctor in there country of choice unless they spend a further 2 years training in that country as a doctor bar a few exceptions. I got that from my knee surgeon recently when discussing the state of the country. He also informed me that the Government want to try and close down all private medicine, all private hospitals will go to the National Health, except for politicians, who will have there own private hospital (very Russian) and pay scales will equal that of a teacher, with surgeons earning the same as a headmaster. Your life in there hands. Have any other doctors heard about this.

      Shilly Maelane - 2012-07-03 07:48

      @ John - not entirely true... It's NHI - but I wouldn't trust the government for s***. They want to nationalize healthcare and make it similar to other countries like the UK... Only problem is that with lack of education and unemployment at the helm, it's doomed from the start; not to mention corruption eating away at the funds that are supposed to bankroll this "great plan" by the ANC. As for working for 2yrs - never heard of it!! Either way, I'd ship out as soon as they start messing around with private practice cause it comes down to communism!!

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2012-07-03 05:58

    If only we can just keep our hospitals clean. Give the doctors and the nurses the things they need. Make the allocated funds work efficiently. But it is so much nicer hopping onto a plane for some exotic destination, far away. After all. We are in charge. We have the power. We can do as we like. Suffer, you peasants !

  • steven.m.armour - 2012-07-03 06:39

    Let the truth be known about the sad state of our health dept.The anc is just scared to let the truth out.

  • tom.vorster - 2012-07-03 06:50

    What's wrong with these selfish, self serving doctors? Dont they care that by highlighting the non existent problems at the state hospitals, the masses may start questioning the need for our great leader's new Boeing!!!

  • bakers.dozen.14 - 2012-07-03 06:55

    Reminds us of another story: "The Emperor's New Clothes" (Danish: Kejserens nye Klæder) is a short tale by Hans Christian Andersen about two weavers who promise an Emperor a new suit of clothes that is invisible to those unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent. When the Emperor parades before his subjects in his new clothes, a child cries out, "But he isn't wearing anything at all!"

  • raymond.kok3 - 2012-07-03 07:01

    dammed if you do dammed if you dont and to think they will eventually fire these doctors for telling the truth and spend thousands of rands in the process just to keep one corrupt idiot to keep his job

  • hein.huyser - 2012-07-03 07:02

    Our history is littered with whisleblower's corpses. The guilty thieves and cleptomaniacs do not like to be exposed, and who suffers in the end? The very voter the cANCer claims to stand for. When will they wake up

  • MagdaKus - 2012-07-03 07:09

    Sheesh! And my late Mom was a doctor @ Dora Nginza many years ago... if she was still there- she would be one of these doctors...

  • Thando Tdoz Kubheka - 2012-07-03 07:10

    let the doctors speak up everyone has a right to work under good suitable conditions. if it weren't for them maybe the conditions would have deteriorated

  • Andre - 2012-07-03 07:11

    Charge the negligent officials!

  • robin.stobbs.9 - 2012-07-03 07:22

    Those doctors deserve medals; not investigation.

      gpitse - 2012-07-03 10:11

      True so ...

  • gert.grobler.94 - 2012-07-03 07:24

    Well the doctors can say they have sworn an oath to care for patients and if the patients are going to die because of the dirty and poor state of hospitals then the anc must first scrap that oath. The anc administration is sick and they all need brain treatment, (done overseas of course). One can probably not say ONE good thing about them. SA has been struck by a destructive disease called the anc. Say farewell to a once thriving SA. We can't wait for the 1000 "qualified" doctors to arrive from cuba to deliver the final death blow to the SA medical service.

      patsy.smith.125 - 2012-07-03 11:55

      I'm curious.... Can they speak English, Xhosa, Zulu etc? Any of the 11 official languages? If not, how can they communicate with their patients? How can they treat their patients when they cannot understand what is wrong with them? Just what are their qualifications? Are they acceptable anywhere but in Cuba and Africa?

      dudu.son.1 - 2012-07-04 04:34

      Guys, I understand but I work in a hospital previously owned by Missimaries where no S. A. Dr wants to work there so Cuban Drs will serve desperate communities. I do not condonm what happened in E. C. but thin broader and away fron your territory. I will take all the blows on my comment.

  • Erna - 2012-07-03 07:27

    Typical ANC behaviour - attack the messenger but ignore the actual truth. That's how they get out of being held accountable!

  • Sheralee - 2012-07-03 07:38

    This is half the problem with this country. We want to pass the information bill so you can't let people know when things are bad, broken, corrupt etc... I think they should be commended for speaking out.

  • neville.watson.94 - 2012-07-03 07:47

    Once again they tackle the person and not the problem , incompetent no good leadership on the part of gov

  • Johan - 2012-07-03 07:51

    I thought there vwas something as the whistle blowing act? That you are allowed to point out any suspected wrong doing? So there must be an act that prevents whistle blower to be nailed on the cross when they do. Yes???

      Wilbur van Niekerk - 2012-07-03 09:08

      Disgusting that government hides behind technicality, instead of facing up to their failure to govern. The employer may not act against an employee for making a protected disclosure as per the Protected Disclosures Act. However, if they have contravened their code of conduct by arranging a press briefing without authorisation, they may be charged for the arranging and not the disclosure made. Let's hope sanity prevails.

      patsy.smith.125 - 2012-07-03 11:50

      Looks like! Honesty and accountability are not in the ANC vocabulary.

  • Asdiedamwalbars - 2012-07-03 07:57

    The Gov should take action against those responsible and in charge of the Health department. Those who want to charge the whistle blower Doctors should be thrown in jail.. because they did nothing in advance to make sure that Doctors don't have to moan that the tools of the trade are in such a bad shape that they can not do their job properly. The un competency proven was not the Doctors..it's those responsible for taking care of Hospital issues.

  • jeremiah.nkosi - 2012-07-03 08:40

    I wonder for how long will the government play the hide and seek by not accepting a blame and shift it to the whistle blowers?is it something enshrined in South African constitution for doctors not to report irregularities within the department,I think the minister has to come forward and explain this to the citizens if they formulated bogus laws for the department's coverup,the minister must be acountable and the doctors did the excellent job by expossing the calamity which the country is facing.The Eastern cape department of health administration is playing games with peoples lives,those involved must suffer for the quencequenses,a president must come clean on this one!

      patsy.smith.125 - 2012-07-03 11:49

      Definitely, Jeremiah. Well said.

  • Harold - 2012-07-03 08:43

    If you treat people badly in the Eastern cape. Then they will Migrate to other provinces leaving the land in the transkie area free to hand out to your buddies. Watch the future this is a deliberate political move by the goverment to get people out.

  • richard.hipkin - 2012-07-03 09:51

    This is the mentality of the EC government, they destroy the very people who are trying to better the lives of people... Education and health care, probably two of the most important services and they are destroying it...

  • elmarie.viljoen.7 - 2012-07-03 10:08

    Charge them for what???? They, the Doctors, probably got tired of asking for assistance from the government and decided to speak out!!! "They held a press briefing without authority. This is not about them talking to the media - Then what is it about??? For trying to bring to the attention that due to the poor conditions in the hospital, peoples lives may be at risk?

  • gpitse - 2012-07-03 10:14

    African National Circus - idle hands = corruption , and blame SATAN...

  • Marli - 2012-07-03 10:21

    Like in any autocratic and one-Party system (see : Russia, White Russia, Ukraine, Syria etc.) everything is under control and there are not any socio-economic issues. The best advise for any specialist is to pack his/her bags and move on to North America or Western Europe. There are still 45 million shangoma's left who can fix the problems of the Dept. of Health in South Africa. E.g. battle against HIV/AIDS : eat garlic and beetroot (Dr. Beetroot approach - better than current situation? at least she gave a solution is it not?) The struggle is academic western medicine and culture/ mentality VS traditional medicine and culture/mentality. One day in the next millennium things might come right if Dr. Beetroot return........

  • fay.meltz - 2012-07-03 10:23

    Typical Eastern Cape Hospitals authorities, why do they not listen do the doctors as there is such a shortage of doctors at government hospitals in Port Elizabeth.............

  • lynn.syme.1 - 2012-07-03 10:24

    Hippocratic Oath: I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure. I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm. If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.

  • patsy.smith.125 - 2012-07-03 11:45

    People who are incapable of doing anything correctly do NOT like to be criticised. Congratulations to the doctors who had the guts to speak out - and God help them - they are going to need the help. This is why the secrecy bill is so important to them, to hide the incompetence and corruption.

  • delahvonne - 2012-07-03 12:11

    At last someone that will be believed has stood up and said something, IT IS AN ETHICAL ISSUE!!

  • stephen.j.dickson.3 - 2012-07-03 12:25

    And so SA continues to careen down the path to oblivion. Thanks a lot ANC.

  • sisie.indola - 2012-07-03 15:13

    And then the government wonders why newly qualified doctors don't want to work at state hospitals - well lets see, they get treated like dogs, don't get paid enough to live in a squatter camp, and if they open their mouth to protest they get fired - good enough reasons.

  • LongSword - 2012-07-03 17:48

    Grown ass adults being told they can't talk to other grown ass adults. These contracts and laws sound more and more like fascism rules everyday. Obviously these doctors are not being listened to because of \procedure\ or \protocol\. Yah, let the procedures and protocol prevent the doctors from listening to their spirit and soul when they're concerned.

  • LongSword - 2012-07-03 17:48

    Grown ass adults being told they can't talk to other grown ass adults. These contracts and laws sound more and more like fascism rules everyday. Obviously these doctors are not being listened to because of \procedure\ or \protocol\. Yah, let the procedures and protocol prevent the doctors from listening to their spirit and soul when they're concerned.

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