The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in KwaZulu-Natal would like to draw the attention of the community to the worsening crisis of bed shortage at King Edward VIII Hospital in Durban after heavy weather conditions damaged some wards last year in October which have not been fixed and made available for admission of patients since then.
As a result, many patients who are waiting for beds stay at the hospital’s trauma unit for more than four days waiting for beds’ availability. “What concerns DENOSA is that while patients are waiting at trauma unit after they have been stabilized, they don’t get food because there is no food allocation at trauma as patients are not meant to stay there – they are stabilized and referred to the relevant unit for admission,” explains DENOSA Provincial Secretary, Mandla Shabangu.
Because of the overpopulation, nurses are getting professionally compromised because it is the responsibility of nurses to ensure good nutritional status of patients. But where will they get food in trauma? And now relatives of patients are angry at nurses for “depriving” their relatives some food. This could easily lead to litigation against nurses, for something that is not of their doing. “This problem is a Department issue and they must address it so that nurses can do their job without any impediment.”
Another ethical dilemma that nurses are faced with is that, because of the dire situation, patients that should be admitted at surgical ward end up at TB ward because that’s where the first bed became available! This is a great potential for litigation because patients will acquire illnesses that they were not admitted for, and the Department could be forced to pay millions in damages.
When the heavy weather damaged some wards like maternity and others, patients were transferred to King Dinizulu Hospital. But patients keep on flocking to King Edward VIII Hospital in large numbers that the facility is not able to accommodate, because the damaged wards are still not ready for admission of patients.
“The situation is also pitting health professionals against each other now. When nurses inform doctors that there are no beds available when patients are booked in by doctor, the doctor, in protecting themselves of course, simply writes on the file ‘nurse so and so says there is no bed available’.”
Once again, DENOSA urges the National Department of Health to look into the situation and intervene before two patients are forced by circumstances to share one bed.
From the above challenges, DENOSA hereby informs the communities that it is giving the Department of Health in the province until Wednesday 18 April to normalize the situation at King Edward VIII Hospital by providing conducive working environment for health professionals. Failure to fix the problem, DENOSA will on Thursday instruct its members to just report for duty at the facility but not touch any work under an environment that is not conducive and that is compromising the quality healthcare to patients.
We believe this is in best interest of quality patient care for communities that utilize King Edward Hospital as they deserve. We also believe this time-frame is reasonable and will give the Department sufficient time to make preparations if it really cares about those communities.
Issued by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in KwaZulu-Natal
For more information and comment, contact:
Mandla Shabangu, DENOSA Provincial Secretary
Mobile: 072 151 5874
Tel: 031 305 1417