One nurse for 2 000 patients in Balgowan clinic

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Pietermaritzburg  - The DA has claimed that the Balgowan Clinic has only one professional nurse to treat the 2 200 patients registered at the facility.

DA councillor in Mooi-uMngeni Moira Grueneberg, a former nurse, said the single nurse had been under “massive strain” for the past three months. “The situation came about in July when two other clinic sisters resigned after KZN’s Health Department failed to pay them a rural allowance used to cover travel costs,” she said.

Grueneberg said the department had advertised and subsequently employed a single professional nurse to start at the beginning of October, but the nurse did not arrive for work.

“When she failed to arrive, the clinic sister made enquiries with the department and was told ‘there is no budget to pay for newly employed staff’,” she said.

A resident, Nokulunga Madondo, said many people had decided to spend R30 to travel to a nearby Mooi River clinic because they were being turned away at Balgowan. She said the clinic was also often short of medication.

DA MPL Dr Imran Keeka said the situation was caused by the freezing of all vacant health jobs in the province, and was not unique to the Balgowan clinic.

Health Department spokesperson Sam Mkhwanazi said they would comment on the matter after gathering all the facts.

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