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.

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