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17 April 2020

Hospersa, a Union of more than 60 000 health workers in the public and private health sector and the largest Union at Netcare is concerned by the increasing number of infections amongst staff members at Netcare facilities around the country.  There has been two (2) Netcare hospitals in recent days where more than fifty (50) health workers tested positive for COVID-19.  Hospersa has called on government to conduct a thorough investigation into Netcare and other private health sector organisations regarding their infection control measures to ensure health workers at their facilities are being protected.

It  has been reported that Netcare Kingsway Private Hospital has stopped admitting new patients after a staff member tested positive for the coronavirus COVID-19.   KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Netcare Regional Manager confirmed that the exposure has been traced to a patient who was admitted to the hospital via the emergency department on 4 April 2020 with a suspected stroke.  Workers who have been exposed to the patient were asked to home-quarantine and self-monitor.  This is the second Netcare hospital in just a few days where such drastic measures have had to be taken to deal with an outbreak predominately affecting staff members.  Netcare employs close to 30 000 employees which includes those in its subsidiaries namely Medicross, Netcare911 and Akeso.  Hospersa has been very vocal about Netcare policies on COVID-19 infection control in its facilities and now calls on government to conduct a thorough investigation into the hospital group’s measures which are seemingly putting its staff members at risk.

“Hospersa is concerned by Netcare’s infection control measures at its facilities,” said Hospersa General Secretary Noel Desfontaines.  “Just last week there was an outbreak at Netcare St Augustine Hospital and now there is a possible outbreak at Netcare Kingsway Hospital.  We are very worried that many of our members in other Netcare facilities including its subsidiaries could also be at risk,” added Desfontaines.

“To date, we have received concerns from our members in Netcare Bay Hospital, Netcare Pretoria East Hospital, Netcare Alberlito Hospital, Netcare Umhlanga Hospital, Netcare Sunward Park Hospital and Netcare Akasia Hospital,” said Desfontaines.  “The main concern that our members have raised is the availability and issuing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).  We raised this concern with Netcare and on Tuesday, 17 April 2020, reached an agreement for sufficient PPE to be provided to all employees in its facilities,” said Desfontaines.

Aside for the Netcare Group, it seems the other private health institutions have also not been spared by the deadly virus.  The latest being Mediclinic Morningside in Sandton where it is reported that fifteen (15) health workers have tested positive for COVID-19.  Mediclinic Morningside has also closed new admissions and staff members that tested positive for COVID-19 are now in isolation until they fully recover. 

“Hospersa calls on government to immediately investigate private health organisations like the Netcare and Mediclinic where many health workers have recently contracted COVID-19,” said Desfontaines.  “The Department of Health (DoH) together with the Department of Labour (DoL) need to urgently conduct a thorough investigation on the infection control measures being employed by private health institutions as we cannot afford to have more health workers lying on treatment beds where it could have been avoided,” argued Desfontaines.

“Addressing such concerns now would limit the possibility of more hospital closures when the virus peaks in September, as predicted by the DoH.  We urge all private health institution to adhere to the Occupational Health and Safety Act by providing safe working conditions or face being closed down at a later stage where it could even be more detrimental to our fight against COVID-19,” concluded Desfontaines.



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For more information please contact Hospersa Public Relations Officer on 060-546-8166.

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