Human Rights Commission raises red flags on Gauteng hospitals

PRETORIA – The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) raised concerns about healthcare facilities across Gauteng after touring the Mamelodi Hospital which has been in the headlines for poor service.

"There is a need to address issues concerning critical staff shortages because that has far-reaching consequences. Staff shortages translate to bad staff attitudes, high incidents of absenteeism, healthcare workers being overburdened and low staff morale," the SAHRC’s provincial manager Buang Jones said speaking to journalists at the hospital.

Jones said the SAHRC was also taken to the exact site where 76-year-old Martha Marais was tied to a hospital steel bench — an incident which was recorded on video and caused outrage on social media and protests at the hospital.

"The Commission has taken instructions from her [Marais] to secure appropriate redress," said Jones.

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The SAHRC’s Gauteng provincial manager Buang Jones [in stripped necktie] interacting with Mamelodi Hospital staff, journalists and patients at the hospital in Pretoria East. PHOTO: ANA Reporter

He said the SAHRC has observed that there were several challenges at the hospital which limited the provision of quality service to patients.

"We have observed that in the casualty unit they don’t have proper ventilation. There’s is also a shortage of beds. That is something that is concerning. All this points to the state of health [provision] in Gauteng. It is compromised due to some of these factors. We hope that the sixth administration of the Gauteng provincial government will prioritize healthcare and refurbishing of healthcare facilities – some of which are in shambles," said Jones.

"We have also noted that at this hospital they don’t have a full-time CEO. That is also a concern because you need stability at the top to ensure that we have a functioning healthcare facility. Those are my preliminary views and assessment of the situation at this hospital."

He said the Mamelodi Hospital staff were "very cooperative" during the SAHRC site inspection.

Mamelodi Hospital’s quality assurance manager Maesela Phogole said the Marais incident, and the general complaints about poor service at the hospital were regrettable. 

"At the end of the day, we are here to render quality care to our patients. It’s one of the ministerial priorities to ensure that access [to healthcare] is gotten from our institutions. We will continue monitoring what is happening at the hospital," said Phogole.

Interacting with the SAHRC, some nurses at the busy hospital also highlighted the overcrowding which they said was a huge problem.

African News Agency

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