Slow processes, poor working conditions at Addington Hospital

2017-09-07 20:53
Social services Parliamentary committee gets a first look at broken oncology machinery at Addington Hospital. (Kaveel Singh, News24)

Social services Parliamentary committee gets a first look at broken oncology machinery at Addington Hospital. (Kaveel Singh, News24)

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Durban – A site visit by a parliamentary committee to the troubled Addington Hospital in Durban on Thursday has revealed slow hiring processes and a lack of proper equipment at the public health facility.

The select committee on social services led by chairperson Cathy Dlamini visited KwaZulu-Natal this week to conduct oversight visits at various departmental projects and facilities.

The committee observed and questioned staff at the neo-natal and paediatric wards.

Doctors in the neo-natal ward spoke of how beds in the ward had to be reduced because of a lack of staff.

"We had to reduce the number of beds because of the shortage of staff. We depend on registrars who are trainees to come through and supplement our staff," Dr Sudhir Prithipal said.

Dlamini said that it was unacceptable that beds had to be reduced because of the shortage of staff.

"It is sad that people will be suffering because there is not enough staff. We need to do something about this."

An ailing paediatric ward

While visiting the paediatric ward, the committee spoke to a visibly tired Dr Noxolo Mbadi, who highlighted a number of challenges in the ward including staffing challenges.

She said that there were not enough nurses and doctors. The unit only has four doctors but needs eight to operate optimally, she said.

Mbadi added that on Thursday, there was only one medical officer in the ward after another was booked off work and another was post-call.

"The doctor will have 32 patients today. She will see those patients on her own. We also have a problem with equipment."

More staff needed

She added that even six doctors were not enough.

"We need eight doctors for the services that our people need."

Dlamini said she herself had been depressed by the situation at the ward.

"I am not promising anything but we will try our best to ensure the minimum is there. Thank you for staying with all the challenges you have."

Mbadi said that doctors were not leaving because they wanted to, but because of working conditions.

"They are overworked and cannot do much in terms of their social affairs. There were doctors who wanted to further their careers and specialise, but they do not have time to study."

Dlamini affirmed that the committee would "do all we can" to assist Mbadi and other medical professionals at the hospital.

Read more on:    durban  |  healthcare  |  service delivery

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