Deputy Public Protector visits Eastern Cape to investigate 'disturbing' reports about govt hospitals

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  • Issues crippling the delivery of healthcare services will come into sharp focus during the deputy public protector's two-day visit.
  • There were disturbing reports of doctors and nurses washing linen at a hospital in Port Elizabeth due to a strike by cleaners.
  • A lack of PPE, a shortage of doctors and sick and pregnant patients sleeping on floors in overcrowded hospitals are some of the allegations.

Deputy Public Protector advocate Kholeka Gcaleka is in the Eastern Cape on Tuesday to investigate reports of challenges faced by public hospitals in Nelson Mandela Bay, Mthatha and Qumbu.

Gcaleka said if she found there was indeed improper conduct, maladministration and gross violation of human rights at the hospitals, her office would intervene.

In a statement on Monday, her office announced that issues plaguing the delivery of efficient healthcare services will come into sharp focus during Gcaleka's two-day visit of the province.

WATCH | Inside Livingstone Hospital where dirt lines hallways, doctors clean wards

Gcaleka is accompanied by chief operations officer Charles Mohalaba and a team of investigators from the provincial Office of the Public Protector.

News24 has been reporting how the lack of life-saving equipment and shortage of health workers crippled the province's efforts to fight Covid-19.

Gcaleka will visit hospitals which have made headlines for disturbing reports of collapsed service delivery.

The hospitals are Livingstone in Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage Hospital in Uitenhage, Mthatha General Hospital and Sulenkama hospital in Qumbu.

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Speaking ahead of the visit, Gcaleka said: "We have seen various disturbing media reports about worsening conditions in some of these hospitals and this is a grave concern for us. If there are indeed systemic service delivery issues and acts of improper conduct, maladministration and gross violation of human rights, we'd like to intervene with a view to seeing to it that people get prompt, quality services."

Her spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe, said the purpose of the visit was for Gcaleka to see for herself the reported deteriorating service delivery conditions at the facilities, as well as hear from officials about the challenges they face.

"Eastern Cape is one of the hardest hit provinces when it comes to Covid-19. This has brought under the spotlight the state of healthcare facilities in the province. Recent media reports have highlighted the challenges faced by the public and healthcare practitioners on the frontline fighting the deadly virus," said Segalwe.

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