Workers at Connie Vorster Hospital have downed tools due to the dire shortage of staff, outstanding payments of overtime and standby allowances as well as a lack of PPE.
WORKERS, including nurses and cleaning and kitchen staff, downed tools at Connie Vorster Hospital in Hartswater on Tuesday due to a shortage of staff and a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).
The staff members said that after complaining about the short supply of gloves for the past two months, they were issued with children’s sized gloves, which tore when they put them on.
The provincial chairperson of the Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of SA (Hospersa), Paul Gras, added that there were no N95 masks.
“Staff members, including those working in the Covid-19 ward, have to borrow surgical masks from the theatre and their safety is being put at risk,” said Gras.
He added that staff members intend to stand outside the hospital until all outstanding overtime and standby allowances are paid up and the necessary PPE material is supplied.
“Staff have not received overtime for the past four months. The hospital has also failed to procure the necessary PPE supplies.”
Gras went on to say that there was a dire shortage of staff.
“There is only one cleaner who is employed to clean the whole hospital and one to clean the kitchen.
“There are only three nurses who work in both ordinary and Covid-19 wards, resulting in a higher risk of cross-infection.
“While nurses are assisted by contract nurses from Mondays to Fridays until 4pm, the three nurses are expected to care for all patients on weekends and during night shifts.”
He said that a letter of grievance was sent to the hospital management in June.
“Management has been aware of the challenges for some time. We have tried to engage with them but there has been no attempt to address our concerns,” said Gras.
The Northern Cape Department of Health did not respond to media enquiries.