Fed-up clinic staff stop work

2015-03-23 00:00

SERVICES at East Boom Community Health Centre (CHC) were disrupted on Friday after pharmacy staff downed tools due to insufficient medicine ­supplies and complaints against management.

Patients had to be sent home without medication because the staff refused to return to their dispensing stations ­before their grievances could be ­addressed.

The KZN Department of Health apologised to the public for the ­disruption and promised to engage with the staff.

Speaking on behalf of the staff, ­pharmacy supervisor Nalini Pillay said they had been raising concerns with the centre management and the department for the last four years — but nothing had happened.

The staff accused management of “running a dictatorship and neglecting the staff”.

She alleged their salaries were being docked for various reasons without their consent.

“The pharmacy department is the only department in the institution that has a shortened tea break of 15 minutes and a lunch break of 30 minutes. We are severely understaffed and see over 600 patients in the main pharmacy and 300 patients per day in the antiretroviral pharmacy,” said Pillay. She claimed staff had not been rotated and were “burnt out with the workload”.

The staff said they blamed senior officials for poor management of stock that had led to the centre being short of vital medication.

“We are turning patients away because management has failed to handle the situation,” said Pillay.

She said letters requesting intervention from the Office of the MEC and the district had fallen on deaf ears.

KZN Health spokesperson Agiza Hlongwane said, “The department wishes to convey an apology to the public for the disruption of services at the East Boom Community Health Centre’s Pharmacy, due to an unauthorised meeting by disgruntled workers. We will, through the labour relations unit, be engaging with the workers to try and reach an amicable conclusion.”

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