Sewage spills into hospi­tal kitchen

● Cri­sis at R1.7bn fa­cil­ity in­cludes pa­tients com­mit­ting sui­cide and dire staff short­ages ● ‘We are an­other Esidi­meni wait­ing to hap­pen’

Sowetan - - Front Page - By Isaac Mahlangu

Miss­ing pa­tients, in­jured peo­ple sleep­ing on the floor, dozens of un­filled staff va­can­cies, se­cu­rity of­fi­cers on strike and pa­tients al­legedly com­mit­ting sui­cide.

These are some of the hor­ror sto­ries com­ing from the R1.7bil­lion Thelle Mo­go­er­ane Hospi­tal in Vosloorus, Ekurhu­leni.

“We are an­other Esidi­meni wait­ing to hap­pen. Some­times there are just two nurses look­ing after 45 pa­tients in a ward,” said a se­nior nurse, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity.

The source, a long-serv­ing nurse at the hospi­tal, said sewage spillages had be­come very com­mon as they hap­pened at least once ev­ery two weeks since Septem­ber.

“Food still gets served to pa­tients de­spite there be­ing sewage in the main kitchen of the hospi­tal be­cause there’s a se­ri­ous short­age of food.

“These are some of the is­sues we have here, soft por­ridge with­out sugar gets served to pa­tients as sup­per.”

Nomonde Mqhayi-Mbambo, the hospi­tal’s CEO con­firmed there was a sewage spillage in their kitchen, how­ever, she said it had been re­solved. “The kitchen had a sewage block­age due to fat be­ing trapped last month and this has been re­solved by the depart­ment of in­fra­struc­ture and they are con­tin­u­ing to mon­i­tor it.”

When Sowe­tan vis­ited the hospi­tal we found: Pa­tients have on sev­eral oc­ca­sions ● had soft por­ridge for sup­per, and some­times there was no sugar;

The de­com­posed body of a

● pa­tient was found be­hind the psy­chi­atric ward, after the pa­tient had been miss­ing for three days in June;

The hospi­tal op­er­ated with

● skele­ton staff after nurses and other staff mem­bers downed tools last Tues­day over safety con­cerns.

Two pa­tients al­legedly com­mit­ted

● sui­cide; and

Lifts have not been work­ing

● for over a week.

The 821-bed hospi­tal, that opened in Au­gust 2014, seemed to be de­scend­ing into a chaotic state that mir­rors its pre­de­ces­sor, the old Natal­spruit Hospi­tal.

On Tues­day, staff mem­bers chased out man­age­ment, dis­rupt­ing op­er­a­tions and prompt­ing the Gaut­eng health depart­ment to ob­tain a court or­der.

Staff said they blamed un­der-staffing for sev­eral in­ci­dents, in­clud­ing a 27-year-old pa­tient who hung himself in­side a ward.

“There are al­ways fewer nurses than what’s re­quired be­cause our man­age­ment is just abus­ing in­terns in­stead of fill­ing va­cant posts,” a nurse said.

To add to the hospi­tal’s woes, se­cu­rity guards aban­doned their posts and went on strike due to non­pay­ment over a week ago, and only re­turned on Satur­day.

DA Gaut­eng health spokesman Jack Bloom said: “I think this hospi­tal is in a cri­sis mainly be­cause of ter­ri­ble man­age­ment ... the se­cu­rity is­sue is a sim­ple mat­ter to ad­dress; just pay the ser­vice provider.”

/ MDUDUZI NDZINGI

The R1.7-bil­lion Thelle Mo­go­er­ane Hospi­tal in Vosloorus has been hit by staff short­ages and in­dus­trial ac­tion.

Pa­tients have to sleep on the floor in the ca­su­alty ward.

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