Dept to intervene in Bara problems

2012-02-08 19:21
Johannesburg - The government will step in to help end problems at Gauteng's Chris Hani-Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Wednesday.

He told the SABC his department would help the hospital handle its budget in the coming financial year.

"We won't allow them to do it alone... [We are going to intervene] so that the money is directed to essential things rather than the things that have been happening for the past five years."

Earlier on Wednesday, health spokesperson Fidel Hadebe said serious problems plagued the hospital.

This was why members from the SA National Defence Force had been deployed a few weeks ago to help out at the hospital,"

Hadebe was responding to reports that staff shortages and overcrowding led to two avoidable infant deaths in the first two weeks of January alone.

Doctors reported brain damage in babies who were born asphyxiated and had not received treatment in time.

Unhygienic conditions in the maternity wards, including maggots in the blood-soaked bedding, were also reported.

In early November, the problem was exacerbated by the non-payment of Khalipha Agency, which supplied additional nurses to the hospital. The agency was paid in late December.

Hospital chief executive Johanna More reportedly said she was unaware of these cases and denied they were linked to staff shortages.

"Where were [the doctors] when these babies were dying? Where are these consultants? Spending time in conferences."

Another one of the problems facing the hospital was that surrounding clinics were not functioning properly "and so people flock to Chris Hani", she said.

Both Hadebe and Gauteng health spokeperson Simon Zwane said there was a national shortage of midwives.

Zwane said a number of midwives had been recruited, who would begin working at the hospital next month.

Democratic Alliance spokesperson Jack Bloom said conditions at the hospital would lead to "an avalanche of medical negligence claims" which would drain the health budget.

The provincial health department recently paid the first of three instalments to Prince Sibusiso Khanyi's parents after losing a negligence suit.

Khanyi was brain damaged through staff negligence at his birth in December 1999. The High Court in Johannesburg ruled they be paid R9.25m in damages.

Zwane said: "There are plans in place that will ensure that doesn't happen [again]."

- SAPA
Read more on:    da  |  jack bloom  |  johannesburg  |  health
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