Bloemfontein – The healthcare system in the Free State has failed those who rely on it, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) following a two-day People’s Commission of Inquiry. The inquiry was held in July.The evidence presented to the commission reflected serious shortcomings within the Free State public healthcare system. More than 45 people, who had been ill-treated or who had lost loved ones at the hands of nurses at the public hospital, shared their experiences.According to the report, the testimonies from residents made real the effect of ambulances that failed to arrive."It’s not simply bungling. It means people’s right to dignity are being violated when they are told to get a wheelbarrow to come to hospital or [are] made to sleep at a pick-up spot like a police station almost a day before their scheduled appointments," the report said.Many people complained that the healthcare facilities were often in disrepair and equipment was often broken or unavailable, and the report highlighted that the provincial government failed to take responsibility to protect access to healthcare services, especially for the poor.The inquiry found that provincial emergency medical services and patient transport systems were "characterised by long waiting times, unreliability and indignity".The report went on to recommend that the provincial health department investigate each of the allegations made in the verbal and written testimonies. It also recommended that the department pay more attention to nursing and medical staff."Leaders at the provincial Department of Health must better listen to staff – working conditions for nurses, doctors, paramedics and ambulance drivers are far from ideal," it said. "These people do not go into this job by mistake – they go in because they care about individuals. However they are constantly promoted into failure because they do not have the time, tools, or medicines in order to do their job properly."