Staff at the De Aar Hospital, which has been described as a “ticking time bomb in terms of the Covid-19 pandemic” downed tools and refused to enter the facility on Monday.
STAFF at the De Aar Hospital, which has been described as a “ticking time bomb in terms of the Covid-19 pandemic” downed tools and refused to enter the facility on Monday.
The DA’s, Dr Isak Fritz, has meanwhile called on Health MEC, Maruping Lekwene, to urgently institute an intervention at the hospital.
According to Fritz, since the facility became operational a few years ago, it has not had hot water. “On any given day, this is a health hazard for a health facility, let alone now, in the middle of winter and in the midst of a pandemic,” Fritz said in a statement.
He added that in addition to the lack of hot water, the party had received numerous complaints from staff, who fear that the hospital management is setting this facility up to become a Covid-19 hotspot.
“The hospital theatre has apparently never been sanitised, despite the high load of Covid-19 patients at the facility and there is also a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for staff,” Fritz said.
“We further have it on good authority that two nursing sisters, who were placed on quarantine, were forced to return to work before their quarantine period was over, due to a shortage of staff.
“At the same time, Covid-19 positive patients are not being separated from other patients.”
Fritz added that he was shocked by reports that a hospital porter “was instructed by management to take the body of a Covid-19 positive patient to the mortuary despite having received no special training on how to manage bodies of Covid-19 patients”.
“This is undeniably a health hazard for the porter and the greater community. It is little wonder that staff at the facility are extremely negative and that they no longer want to go to work.”
According to Fritz, the party has written to the MEC, asking for an immediate intervention at the De Aar hospital.
“We need all health facilities to adhere to Covid-19 protocols, for the safety of all staff and patients. At the same time, it is critical that staff be protected so that health facilities can remain open. Otherwise, the lack of accessible health care in the De Aar region could provide another burden on the health system, and see even more lives being unnecessarily lost due to a lack of health care.”
Lebogang Majaha, spokesperson for the Office of the MEC, indicated that he would comment on Tuesday.