What the Public Protector found after probing state of healthcare at some public hospitals

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The Public Protector has revealed the poor state of government hospitals.
The Public Protector has revealed the poor state of government hospitals.
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  • The Public Protector's office released investigation reports on Friday. 
  • The reports focus on the state of public hospitals in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. 
  • The office visited the hospitals in 2020.  

Staff shortages and poor physical infrastructure are a few of the issues uncovered by the Office of the Public Protector at some of the country's public hospitals.

On Friday, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and her deputy, Kholeka Gcaleka, released the outcome of investigations into the state of public healthcare facilities in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

The office visited more than a dozen public hospitals to conduct in loco inspections at the facilities.

Between 6 and 7 October 2020, the office visited the Christ the King District Hospital in Ixopo, Rietvlei District Hospital in uMzimkhulu, Mbongolwane District Hospital in Eshowe – Mbongolwane Reserve, and KwaMagwaza District Hospital in Melmoth.

READ | 13 Eastern Cape hospitals without patient files after IT company switches off system

The office found there were systemic deficiencies, such as staff shortages, poor physical infrastructure, lack of laundry services and poor information technology connectivity at the Christ the King District Hospital.

The same issues were found at the other three hospitals in KZN. 

It said the department had failed to ensure "appropriate conditions for the enjoyment, delivery and access to adequate as well as effective healthcare services for the rural community of Ixopo, uMzimkhulu, Eshowe and Mthonjaneni as well as surrounding areas being served by the hospitals".

Meanwhile, in Gauteng, the office probed the administration, management and responsiveness to the Covid-19 pandemic. Mkhwebane and Gcaleka visited the hospitals in August 2020.

READ | Lockdown: SA moves to Level 1 as govt set to introduce vaccine certificates

They found that administrative deficiencies at the provincial health department led to systemic challenges in the delivery of primary healthcare services at six hospitals - Jubilee District Hospital, Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital, Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Lilian Ngoyi Community Health Centre and Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital.

"Based on the evidence in the Public Protector's possession and the submissions made by management at all six hospitals, the Public Protector finds that the provincial health department experienced systemic challenges which impacted on healthcare services."

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