Netcare humbled by staff during strike

2010-09-03 18:07

Johannesburg – Private hospital group Netcare said on Friday it had been humbled by the efforts of its staff who treated over 700 patients who had not been able to access care at government hospitals during the public servants' strike.

Netcare chief executive officer Richard Friedland said the impact of the strike in terms of human suffering was significant and they had witnessed the extraordinary lengths that people went to get care for themselves or their families.

"It has been hard for all of us to see the overwhelming need of the patients – especially of the little rescued babies. Most of those that we have taken in are doing extremely well and many have already been discharged from hospital. That has been most rewarding for all of us," said Friedland in a statement.

"It has also been humbling to see the dedication and how well everyone has pulled together to get through this extraordinary time, despite the extra burden that has been placed on doctors, nurses and staff members."

They used the emergency plan that they had put in place in case of disaster during the World Cup and services had coped well with the overflow.

Cases mentioned in the statement included teaching new young mothers how to care for and feed their babies, which has been admitted with kwashiorkor, a distended stomach caused by malnutrition.

One baby was brought to their Park Lane Hospital not breathing but they managed to resuscitate the child and both mom and baby were doing well.

Another patient who had gone into toxic shock was saved and was up "sipping water and tea" after being admitted to the Sunninghill Hospital.

Friedland said the services they have rendered so far, but will not be charging for as staff gave their time, are worth R15m.


Meanwhile, at public hospitals, while there was still intimidation at a hospital in Kwazulu-Natal, with a non-striking nurse being stabbed, hospitals in Johannesburg appeared to be calm with no reported violence.

About 100 public servant strikers sang and danced outside the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, many of them National Education, Health and Allied Worker's Union (Nehawu) members.

There was a strong military presence but a security guard said there had been no violence.

The spokesperson for the hospital was not immediately available but guards inside the hospital said that no journalists were allowed inside.

An employee said only: "The situation remains the same."

Patients went in and out of the hospital and queues outside the pharmacy were visible but the waiting room was near to empty and there was no one at the information desk.

The situation appeared to be the same at the Helen Joseph, Charlotte Maxexe and Rahima Moosa hospitals also in Johannesburg.