The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in Free State calls upon the national Department of Health to intervene in the ongoing healthcare crisis in the province before more patients lose their lives.
We make this call because nurses are the ones getting blamed for, among others, the poor conditions in many facilities in the province that are caused by staff shortages, shortage of medicals and non-payment of workers who work overtime.
Recently, midwives and staff at Bloemfontein’s Pelonomi Hospital maternity ward got tired of being blamed for the many deaths that occur at maternity in the hospital largely as a result of shortage of midwives and decided to speak up because blame gets directed at them when incidents occur.
They forwarded their long-standing grievances on the poor care given to high risk patients, to the top management, which include that:
– Top management is not considering obstetrics and gynae unit as emergency cost centre at the facility whereas it deals with mothers and infants;
– That 30 midwives had resigned from the facility, and were only replaced by nine new appointees and three promoted from lower category to professional nurses;
– Five professional nurses were removed from the obstetrics and gynae unit with no replacement;
– Poor referral system which is failing patients, midwives and doctors alike;
– Shortage of staff resulting in lack of proper care being given to high risk patients despite Pelonomi being a tertiary hospital.
– Antenatal Unit has 17 beds but ends up admitting up to 25 patients with only two professional nurses and one enrolled nurse resulting in poor monitoring of patients;
– Zero security for both patients and health workers for 24 hours (security is only in postnatal ward from 07h00 to 20h00.); and
– Patients no bathing on time because there is no warm water due to broken boilers, and patients are assessed without having bathed first, which embarrasses them as patients.
“On top of this crisis of shortage, when nurses work overtime, they don’t get paid timeously for the overtime. To prove how long it takes for them to get paid, they even forget that they are owed by the Department sometimes,” explains DENOSA Free State Provincial Chairperson, Thibogang Thole.
Nurses in the province, together with other health workers, are still owed performance bonuses of the last few years.
“And when this stressful environment takes its toll on nurses”, continues Thole, “they get burnt out and the frustration reaches a boiling point, and yet no skills development opportunities are provided to them to enable them to at least cope with that dire situation. And the community still expects the best out of them at all times, not knowing these underlying stressful conditions that compromise the quality of healthcare they provide.”
DENOSA will from tomorrow name and shame other facilities whose challenges have remained unresolved and whose services have thus become a serious danger to communities across the province.
“There are facilities that still operate without proper security in the province. There are facilities that still don’t have all the required medical supplies and consumables available for normal operations. Keeping quiet about these only prolongs the injustice to communities, because nothing is being done about those,” concludes Thole.
Issued by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in Free State
For more information and comment, contact:
Thibogang Thole, DENOSA Free State provincial chairperson.
Mobile: 072 563 3477
Tel: 051 430 4142