The Star Late Edition

‘Patients told to buy own bandages’


THE GAUTENG Department of Health has denied there is a shortage of Panado painkiller­s and bandages at Soweto clinics, even though an employee at the Lilian Ngoyi Clinic said there had been a shortage since November.

The DA’S health spokesman in Gauteng, Jack Bloom, said yesterday he had raised concerns over the shortage of bandages with the department since October but the problem had been “coming and going and never permanentl­y solved”.

Bloom said he had visited Lilian Ngoyi, next to Chris Hani Baragwanat­h Academic Hospital, after complaints of bandage shortages.

“I found they have been short of bandages for about a month, and (the clinic) has to borrow bandages from other clinics. Some patients are asked to buy their own bandages or wash bandages for re-use.”

This was confirmed by an employee who spoke on condition she is not identified or her job described. She said some patients were asked to buy gauze and bandages and come back so that their wounds could be dressed.

“Some have been referred to other clinics, and how does a nurse tell a patient that there is nothing available to dress their wounds and ask them to go and buy them? At times our clinic has to borrow from others in Soweto, but they also do not have some of the things.”

Apart from bandages, there was a “serious shortage of insulin for diabetic patients”.

Bloom said he had spoken to a pharmacist at the clinic, who confirmed they did not have any Panado available. Measles and five-in-one vaccines were also not in stock.

Bloom blamed the Health Department for “wasting time denying there was a problem, instead of fixing it”.

Department spokeswoma­n Phumelele Khumalo said: “According to the Johannesbu­rg Region, there are enough bandages in all Soweto clinics.”

She said patients were encouraged to report any matters of concern by calling 0800 203 886, adding that “all complaints are investigat­ed thoroughly and dealt with accordingl­y”.

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