A cancer patient and more than a dozen mothers and their children were found sleeping on the floor and benches at the Church of Scotland Hospital in Umsinga, in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands, the provincial department of health said on Monday.
Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo made these discoveries during a surprise visit to the hospital on Sunday evening. He ordered its management to find a decent place to house the patients who were awaiting transport to hospitals in Pietermaritzburg on Monday.
The department said Dhlomo was upset because "hospital management ought to have a better system in place after the matter came under the spotlight and was resolved two years ago".
"I am surprised and angry that a matter we resolved long ago has not been effected at this hospital. These patients have left their homes and come here so that they can be reviewed. District hospitals provide transport for them to tertiary hospitals," Dhlomo said.
He revealed that among the patients who were there at the hospital was Mamizi Mkhize, who has advanced cancer.
"She is due to go for further treatment at Grey's Hospital. I found her kneeling on the bench as she says she cannot put down her pelvis on the concrete floor. It was obvious if I had not arrived there, she was going to remain kneeling for the whole night," he said.
Dhlomo said he ordered the hospital to find Mkhize and the more than a dozen mothers and their children a decent place to sleep.
"If hospital management had been exposed to palliative care maybe they would have been sensitive to this need of our population," he said.
He also expressed his disquiet with the state of cleanliness at the same hospital and urged management to attend to it.
Dhlomo added that he wanted hospital managers to ensure that patients were treated humanely and with dignity.
"I urge management at all hospitals to report if they cannot house our patients so that we can intervene."