The Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) in Gauteng is worried that hospitals are making Covid-19 positive and negative patients share wards.
Simphiwe Gada, Denosa’s Gauteng chairperson, said they discovered this during recent oversight visits to various healthcare centres, particularly at the Tshwane District Hospital and the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital in Ga-Rankuwa, near Pretoria.
“We have, as provincial office bearers, been going around the province. We started in all the hotspots such as the George Mukhari Academic Hospital, the Tshwane District Hospital, Sebokeng and Tembisa hospitals [on the East Rand]. We also visited the provincial warehouse in Roodepoort [on the West Rand],” Gada said.
“We are troubled by the issues we discovered, especially at two institutions – the Tshwane District and Dr George Mukhari Academic hospitals,” said Gada.
He said Denosa discovered that Covid-19 positive and negative patients shared one ward. This increased the risks of contracting the virus if you are negative.
Gada said according to the two hospitals’ managements, the backlog in getting test results for patients under investigation was the main reason for this.
He said at the Tshwane District Hospital, nurses were being forced to reuse disposable gowns and masks, which they were asked to wash after use even though the province had enough personal protective (PPE) stored away.
“This is dangerous and puts their [health workers’] lives at risk. In our view this contributes to the rate of infections of healthcare workers as the quality of the PPE depreciates and will not provide the expected protection.
“Over the past few weeks, healthcare workers have been infected with Covid-19 in large numbers, mostly in the line of duty. This has been in line with the increase in the community infection rate in Gauteng.
“There has not been any investigation into this high number of infections among healthcare workers, which has surpassed 27 000 in the country, with more than 180 deaths so far,” said Gada.
He confirmed that the provincial health department had sufficient supplies of PPEs kept at the provincial warehouse in Roodepoort.
“We can confirm that there is a lot of PPE in the province and it is sufficient. However, some of their quality is questionable. Some hospitals don’t have adequate transport to fetch the PPEs and they must be assisted,” he said.