by Harold McGluwa – DA Northern Cape Provincial Chairperson & Chief Whip of the Provincial Caucus
Date: 17 September 2018
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Northern Cape is calling on the Health MEC, Fufe Makatong, to institute an urgent intervention into the state of health care at the Connie Vorster Hospital in Hartswater following two deaths in just two weeks, both of which highlight serious delays in terms of medical treatment being received.
In one incident, a patient who was stabbed bled to death while waiting to receive medical attention. In another incident, a patient who was knocked over by a motorcycle died after waiting for five hours to receive medical attention. It is believed that the latter incident is still under investigation by the department.
In order to establish the current standard of healthcare at the facility, I conducted an oversight inspection at the Hartswater Hospital last week, together with the Provincial Deputy Chairperson and Frances Baard PR Councillor, Michael Kaars, as well as Constituency Head, Willem Faber.
Our findings confirmed that severe understaffing and a lack of equipment may have contributed to the two above mentioned deaths.
Only five doctors are employed at the hospital, and they often cannot perform basic healthcare procedures on emergency patients because of a lack of equipment. The nurse on duty has to run through the entire hospital seeking basic equipment, such as glucose and blood pressure meters, because of a dire shortage of medical equipment. Administrative staff also run between divisions to assist where they can, as there is a major shortage of staff at the hospital.
In the case of after-hour emergencies, patients are brought in through the backdoor of the hospital, as clerks only work 12-hour shifts. This poses a further risk to patients and the single doctor and nurse, who work nightshift and weekends. Even more so considering that there is no proper security system at the hospital, allowing people to come and go as they please.
The DA will write to MEC Fufe Makatong, urging her to address the personnel and equipment challenges currently being experienced at the Connie Vorster Hospital. We also want her to streamline procurement processes that result in delays in the delivery of food, linen and equipment.
Health facilities are meant to help sustain life. Yet, it is increasingly clear that the health care under the ANC government is desperately failing more and more patients in need of life saving treatment.
Only a DA-led government will ensure that hospitals all over the province adequately equipped and staffed to deliver quality healthcare services to our communities.
DA Northern Cape Provincial Chairperson & Chief Whip of the Provincial Caucus
082 440 1779
Northern Cape Provincial Researcher
079 226 0991