Midlands hospitals visited

2017-06-26 09:29
KwaZulu-Natal health portfolio committee member DA MP Dr Imran Keeka inspects the CT scanner at Grey’s Hospital during an oversight visit on Friday.

KwaZulu-Natal health portfolio committee member DA MP Dr Imran Keeka inspects the CT scanner at Grey’s Hospital during an oversight visit on Friday. (Chelsea Pieterse)

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An oversight visit to Northdale and Grey’s Hospitals by the KwaZulu-Natal health portfolio committee on Friday revealed over 100 doctors are needed at Grey’s.

The oversight inspections of the hospitals follows the presentation of an executive statement by KZN finance MEC Belinda Scott on Thursday where she stated all supply chain management would be taken over by Treasury in an attempt to remedy the province’s current health crisis.

Last week, a report by the South African Human Rights Commission found the KZN Health Department had failed its cancer patients through broken oncology equipment, and the inability to recruit and retain specialists within state hospitals.

The executive statement by Scott detailed interventions that would be taken within the department following the report with the support of KZN Premier Willies Mchunu and Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo.

On Friday, the health portfolio committee board met at Northdale Hospital for a presentation from the CEO Buhle Maphanga on the hospital’s achievements and challenges.

The challenges included a shortage of beds due to high occupancy rates, a “high number of misconduct cases”, service providers failing to deliver, old infrastructure, the fact that the hospital’s psychiatric ward is still being built, among other issues.

The psychiatric ward has not been completed as a contractor had been paid in full in 2010 and after finishing part of the ward, disappeared.

The department had apparently been searching for the contractor, who disappeared without a trace, for seven years. The province has recently allocated money for a new contractor.

The hospital also had a number of vacancies that were waiting to be filled which included 15 medical posts, 87 nursing posts and 12 administrative posts.

Despite its challenges, Maphanga said Northdale has many achievements under its belt, including Ideal Clinic Realisation and Maintenance (ICRM) awards for Northdale Gateway, which received gold status and Mafakathini and Balgowan Clinic which received platinum status.

The health portfolio committee chair, Yusuf Bhamjee and other members said the report was well-presented, however, a more comprehensive report on human resource vacancies, service satisfaction and issues raised by patients’ families should be presented at the next meeting.

The oversight visit to Grey’s Hospital included a tour of the oncology unit with a look at the hospital’s CT Scanners and radiotherapy machines.

The presentation by Grey’s CEO Dr Kandolo Benoit Bilenge showed there were challenges facing the hospital. Not all the beds in ICU and neonatal ICU are opened due to the lack of nurses. Bilenge said patients in wards cost the hospital R5 000 per patient per day.

He said a “huge challenge” was the shortage of staff. The hospital’s board said Grey’s had 55 vacant nursing posts, 55 vacant administrative posts, 103 vacant medical (including sessional) posts and 10 paramedical posts and technical maintenance posts, a total of 233 vacant posts at the hospital.

Hospital board chair, Jay Jugwanth said Grey’s was an “excellent hospital” however, they needed to secure a meeting with the MEC in the hopes of addressing the current issues.

He said the board had been requesting meetings since 2015 without success.

Read more on:    kzn health department  |  pietermaritzburg

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