Nurses protest over poor working conditions

2018-06-07 06:01
PHOTO: suppliedNurses protest outside Osindisweni Hospital.

PHOTO: suppliedNurses protest outside Osindisweni Hospital.

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STRIKING nurses from Osindisweni Hospital returned to work last Thursday after they downed tools and embarked on a strike over poor working conditions and a shortage of medication at the hospital on May 23.

The striking workers also complained about being understaffed and said they have to work long hours attending to patients.

One of the nurses who spoke to Coastal Weekly but wished to remain anonymous, said that crucial equipment such as syringes and machines are in short supply.

“We sometimes keep the used syringe to use on the same patient because we do not have other options. We have complained to the management of the hospital but nothing is happening. We decided to go on strike and let the MEC, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, see what we have to go through every day,” she said.

The protestors accused the manager, Ntombenhle Mahlobo, of not taking their complaints seriously. Residents also joined in the strike in a bid to air their views.

One of the residents at the scene said patients arriving to pick up chronic medication are being turned away by the staff.

Resident Musa Mpungose said: “People of the Osindisweni area use this hospital as they cannot travel to Durban and Phoenix to collect their medication.

“When we visit the hospital, the staff members tell us that they do not have medication and send us back home with Panado,” he said.

A memorandum of grievances was handed over to the acting head of the Department of Health, Musa Gumede.

Spokesperson for the KZN Department of Health Ncumisa Mafunda said: “The department can confirm that nursing staff from Osindisweni Hospital embarked on protest action. Not all nursing staff took part in the protest, and services continued in all areas while it was ongoing. Some of the issues raised by the nurses are known to the department and are being dealt with internally.”

DA spokesperson Imran Keeka said KZN Premier Willies Mchunu must listen to the workers.

“The DA calls on KZN Premier Willies Mchunu to heed the rising call of unions in the province to fire provincial Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo without any further delay.

“The appeal comes after Nehawu and Denosa members marched over poor working conditions which include dire staff shortages, while also calling for the MEC to be axed.

“Earlier this week, nurses from Osindisweni Hospital also marched over the MEC’s complete lack of leadership within the department.

“The DA has been fighting for Dhlomo to be axed for several years as the province reels from an unprecedented oncology crisis,” Keeka said.

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