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02 May 2018

Hospersa has criticised the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Department of Health (DoH) for dismal health standards in the province’s public health facilities.  The criticism comes after the KZN Member of Executive Council (MEC) for Health visited the Church of Scotland Hospital in Tugela Ferry and found patients sleeping on benches and on the floor.  The Union has attributed the poor health standards in the province to the MEC’s poor management of the health portfolio and continues to call for his resignation for collapsing the province’s health care system.

According to reports, the KZN MEC for Health did a surprise visit to the Church of Scotland in Tugela Ferry at the weekend.  It is reported that he found patients sleeping on benches and on the floor while waiting for medical attention.  Among the patients was a cancer patient and more than a dozen mothers and children.  Hospersa has stated that the MEC’s poor management is the root cause of the ailing public health service in the province.

“The picture of patients sleeping on benches and on the floor has become the sad reality of the health care service in KZN,” said Hospersa Public Relations Officer, Kevin Halama. “We maintain our stance that the poor management of public health by the MEC has led to a collapse in the service.  His resignation would bring new hope to the many patients directly affected by the poor service and restore dignity to the many dejected health care workers forced to work under poor conditions,” added Halama.

The embattled KZN MEC for Health was also recently issued with a notice to appear before the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) over the reported lack of meaningful progress in dealing with the provincial oncology crisis.  In June last year, the SAHRC released a damning report on the state of oncology in the KZN.  The SAHRC recommended that steps be taken to repair and monitor all the health technology machines including the Computed Tomography (CT) scanners and the radiotherapy machines regardless of contractual disputes.  The SAHRC also ordered the adoption of a management plan to deal with the backlog as well as the adoption of an interim referral management plan to facilitate the referral of patients to private service providers for screening, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.  

“Hospersa has been vocal about the cancer crisis since 2009 when the KZN DoH was caught up in a multi-million rand corruption scandal involving the maintenance contract of radiography machines at Addington Hospital.  It is almost ten years since the scandal broke and nothing has been done to the implicated officials.  Instead, the KZN MEC for Health continues to mismanage the province’s health portfolio leading to a collapse of oncology service in the province’s public health facilities,” said Halama.

“We have a clear mandate from our members to address the various issues related to poor management and corruption, staff shortages and Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) particularly in the public service.  These are some of the issues affecting the delivery of health care service in KZN,” argued Halama.

“Hospersa will continue to campaign for these burning problems to be addressed in order for patients to receive the quality public health care service they deserve,” concluded Halama.



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