DA: Frere report a whitewash

2007-07-30 17:27

Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance has dismissed the special task team's report on conditions at East London's Frere Hospital as a "whitewash".

DA spokesperson Mike Waters said: "There are several problems with the methodology of the task team which makes the conclusions entirely superficial and very difficult to take seriously."

He said while the visit was described in the report as unannounced, it was clear that it was not.

It began with a meeting with the provincial MEC and involved a conducted walk-around.

"This would have to have been organised in advance, and it's impossible to believe that hospital management did not have time to prepare and cover over some of the cracks," he said.

Secondly, the investigation seemed to have involved nothing more than discussions with hospital management, a walk around the facility and a few conversations with staff in contrast to the initial Daily Dispatch newspaper's investigation, which involved two months of under-cover investigation.

It was notable that there seemed to have been no attempt to ask patients what they thought of the hospital.

"What took the Dispatch two months to uncover took the health department three days to dismiss."

A proper investigation would have involved unannounced and under-cover visits, which would not have created the opportunity for the hospital's management to create a once-off sanitised picture of the hospital's operations.

"It is a pity that the opportunity to get a real understanding of the crisis in this hospital has been wasted," Waters said.