Hospital battles after nurses cut
TWO WARDS have been shut down and only one of the three theatres is currently functional at Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital, west of Johannesburg.
These are the drastic steps that have been taken by the Gauteng Department of Health after it failed to pay nursing agencies who were then forced to withdraw their nurses from the hospital.
In response to the DA’s questions in the provincial legislature, MEC for Health Gwen Ramokgopa admitted that the department owed the nursing agency, Nursing Services of South Africa, R6.17 million.
Ramokgopa said the department was using the services of three nursing agencies at the beginning of the year and that they stopped providing services because they had not been paid.
“(There has been a) shortage of staff which leads to staff burn-out (due to the withdrawal of agency nurses). (Steps taken to cope with the withdrawal of agency nurses are) the closure of two wards and movement of staff to critical areas to cover shifts.
“Three theatres were cut down to one due to (a) short(age) (of) staff,” Ramokgopa said.
She said two other agencies, Nurse Mate and Madundu HR Solutions, were paid in full on October 31.
See also noted that Nursing Services of SA was paid R4.91m with an outstanding balance of R6.17m.
“Amounts are loaded for payment but due to cash allocation constraints some are outstanding,” Ramokgopa said.
She said negotiations were under way for revised payment plans.
DA Gauteng Health spokesperson Jack Bloom said this was the sad effect of the department’s ongoing financial crisis which increased the risk of medical negligence for the 14 000 births at this hospital every year.
“It is essential that extra money is found soon to pay the department’s many debts, otherwise more companies will halt services with terrible consequences,” Bloom said.