Medical supplies found dumped

2015-06-15 11:06
Some of the recovered boxes containing expired medical supplies found in the basement of one of the wings at Northdale Hospital.

Some of the recovered boxes containing expired medical supplies found in the basement of one of the wings at Northdale Hospital. (Amil Umraw)

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NORTHDALE Hospital staff made a shocking discovery last week when 68 boxes crammed with vital medical equipment were found in the basement.

Patients have been turned away due to the lack of the same equipment.

Some staff have brought the “lack of competence” of the hospital’s management into the spotlight after the equipment, estimated to be valued at more than R2 million, was found by workers cleaning out the basement under one of the wings.

According to sources at Northdale Hospital, who asked not to be named in fear of reprisal, the boxes which contain equipment and supplies vital to the everyday running of the hospital, were “left unaccounted for” since before 2012.

The boxes contain “hundreds if not thousands” of intravenous infusion sets (IVs), IV administration sets, umbilical vessel catheters, swabs, syringes, needles, endotracheal tubes and other surgical items.

All the supplies have now passed their expiration date, some of which expired as recently as April, and will be disposed of.

A source at the hospital said they have had to turn patients away and direct them to other hospitals due to a lack of the same supplies.

“These supplies are vital to the running of the hospital and the care of the patients.

“If we do not have stock, which is a common occurrence, then we cannot treat,” the source said last Friday.

“We turn people away saying that we do not have [supplies] yet there were tons under our feet that management lost in the mess that is our basement.”

The boxes were discovered during a clean-up of the basement of the hospital wing last Thursday.

Another source explained the procedure that should be followed when medication or supplies are about to expire.

“If the hospital has no need for extra supplies and if they are about to expire, they must be logged onto the intranet, on a system called the BOS or board of survey, so that if other hospitals require them then they can be delivered,” the source said.

“Imagine how many patients could have been treated, not just here [Northdale Hospital] but at other institutions as well.”

Spokesperson for the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health Sam Mkhwanazi said the department has been informed by Northdale Hospital that the medical stocks in fact date back to 1984.

“The department will conduct an inventory check to test the veracity of the allegations made by your newspaper,” Mkhwanazi said

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg
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