Dhlomo: ‘If this was a bank then I would change banks’

2015-03-07 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo yesterday named and shamed state hospital CEOs for the disgraceful state of healthcare and services.

So incensed was Dhlomo that he described the attitude of some health care workers of “looking clean on the outside but devilish on the inside”.

In a packed hall at Addington Nurses’ Home in Durban, Dhlomo addresssed his staff on improving the level of health care at government hospitals.

He named and shamed 11 CEOs and public relations officers and referred to stories highlighting poor treatment of patients that had made it onto the front pages of newspapers.

Dhlomo lashed out at CEOs and PROs from 71 hospitals around KZN for the disgraceful manner in which their hospitals were being run, telling them to “shape up or ship out”.

Northdale Hospital CEO Francis du Preez and PRO Mandisa Dlamini were among those singled out in public. Dhlomo read out a story published in The Witness last month about a mother who had been forced to remain in bed next to her dead baby for seven hours at Northdale Hospital.

“How can you do that to the patient?” he asked them. “Why was the patient left alone? I need to explain to the premier what happened here. If you are tired of your jobs then get another job because this is a painful thing to deal with,” Dhlomo said.

“If people get a poor reception [at your hospital] it leads to bad publicity and medico-legal claims. People forget about all the good work that you are doing and focus on the one bad incident that was reported to the media.

“This also leads to people losing faith in our institutions and when this happens they become reluctant to seek further health care from us,” he said.

Dhlomo said the six national core standards — cleanliness; waiting times; patient safety and security; infection prevention and control; availability of basic medicines and supplies and values and attitudes of staff — must be upheld.

“Let us move away from turning patients away from puplic institutions, otherwise we are going to get sued if a baby dies because the mother was turned away.

“I always joke to patients and tell them that they should pack breakfast, lunch and supper when they go to the hospital because they spend the whole day there.

“If this was a bank then I would change banks because I want my bank to provide a good service. It’s not right for people to sit and wait for five hours in the hospitals.”

Patients always tell me that they are very happy with our democracy but say that during apartheid there was always food for the patients.

We may be cash-strapped but not to the extent that we don’t even have money to buy sugar” said Dhlomo.

Values and staff attitude remain a concern for the department, said Dhlomo.

“I know staff that are moonlighting are the sweetest nurses while treating patients at private hospitals and when they get to government hospital they become devils.

“We don’t want staff that are sweet in the morning and devils in the afternoon,” he said.

When Dhlomo referred to the newspaper articles, CEOs and their PROs cringed as he lambasted them for the state of their hospitals.

“I went to one hospital and found nurses watching Generations and these are the sort of things that make my heart bleed.

“The government in power is doing everything it can to deliver but some people do their best to create havoc in their hospitals. Some of you are sabotaging the government.”

To nurses and CEOs that turn patients away, Dhlomo said, “You must give the patient money to come back the next day and write a letter to their employer informing them why they have to be absent at work.”

He added that, “This is not a bashing session but we want to come clean and deal with these issues publicly.”

Du Preez did not respond to phonecalls and SMSes seeking comment last night.

Chairperson of the Northdale board, Rachel Soobiah, said the board was aware of the changes facing the hospital. However she said, “We as the board would never hide anything from the public.

“The hospital and the CEO must answer to the MEC on the recent incidences. We are in no way trying to hide what is happening at the hospital.”

Soobiah said the board met with management two weeks ago and decided to hold consultative meetings with the hospital management and the community in an attempt to address the challenges facing the hospital.

Deploying ‘mystery shoppers’

IN an effort to root out errant health care workers, the health department plans on deploying “mystery shoppers” to keep them in check.

KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC

Sibongiseni Dhlomo announced yesterday that they would soon be visiting various hospitals around KZN.

“A team of people will go on surprise visits to all hospitals and clinics countrywide. They will sit on the bench and take note of our service, attitude and the state of our facilities,” explained Dhlomo.

The mystery shopper is expected to write a report to Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s office detailing their experience and then that report will be sent to various MECs around the country.

“I will read the report and and I will tell the hospital what the mystery shopper found and then we will take it from there,” said Dhlomo.

Dhlomo said this was an initiative of the national minister.

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