- The Netcare hospital group have set up "free-standing" mortuaries at some of its hospitals.
- They say this is to ensure the safety of health and funeral parlour workers during the Covid-19 pandemic
- They say staff will at all times manage deceased Covid-19 patients with respect, including following religious prescriptions.
The Netcare hospital group have set up "free-standing" mortuaries at some of its hospitals to ensure the safety of health and funeral parlour workers, this as Covid-19 numbers continue to exponentially rise in South Africa.
Coastal director for Netcare's Hospital division Craig Murphy on Thursday said: "We have, as a precautionary measure, recently acquired free-standing mortuaries at a number of our hospitals in case funeral parlours find themselves in a position where they cannot promptly collect deceased patients from our hospitals," he said.
Murphy, responding to questions about a specialised free-standing mortuary facility at Netcare Umhlanga Hospital said, "not all Netcare hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal have mortuaries".
"Our hospitals therefore have arrangements in place with a number of private funeral parlours to collect deceased patients from our hospitals, in consultation with their families and based on their preference of funeral parlour."
He said they aimed to ensure hospital and funeral parlour workers were not compromised.
"To ensure that the health of those who handle Covid-19 deceased patients at our hospitals and funeral parlours will not be compromised, we adhere to Netcare's comprehensive precautionary guidelines for the management of deceased Covid-19 patients, which are aligned to guidance by the Department of Health."
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Murphy said that, to date, they did not have capacity issues.
"We have generally not experienced any capacity problems with this arrangement, but funeral parlours would be best placed to comment on whether they are experiencing capacity constraints."
He said they would always maintain respect with the handling of those who died of Covid-19.
"Please note that staff at Netcare hospitals will at all times manage deceased Covid-19 patients with respect, including following religious prescriptions where relevant."
News24 reached out to the KwaZulu-Natal health department and queried if capacity at mortuaries was becoming an issue.
Department spokesperson Noluthando Nkosi would not comment on the matter.
"We're not commenting," she said.