8 August 2018
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Northern Cape has called on the Health MEC, Fufe Makatong, to intervene in a serious breakdown of controls at the Fraserburg Hospital that is threatening the privacy of patients, as well as aggravating medicine shortfalls at the facility.
During a recent oversight inspection to the hospital, I found that patient confidentiality is being breached. Patient records are kept in an unsecure area and general workers are instructed by sisters on duty to pull the confidential files of patients. In effect, word of who has been diagnosed with illnesses, including TB and HIV, ends up in the public domain, against the wishes of patients who wish to keep their diagnoses private. This is a serious violation of patients’ rights.
Similarly, pharmaceuticals are also not secure and there are no controls to manage the dispensing of medicines. Staff members take medicines home to their friends, or for the children of relatives who have not even visited the clinic, without any type of access control register having to be filled in. It’s a free for all, which poses a risk to the safety of the community, and also aggravates the shortage of medicines at the facility.
There is an increasing lack of professionalism at the facility and services are on the decline. While the Health Department has increased staff capacity at the hospital, accessibility of staff remains a challenge due unprincipled practices and a lack of management.
For years already, the Health Department has highlighted the risks posed by unsecure patient records across the province, and it has touted an electronic filing system as the answer to its problems. To date, however, no remedial action in this regard has been effected.
The DA will write to Makatong, asking her to address the escalating number of challenges at the Fraserburg Hospital, before they result in adverse action against the department, which is already drowning in medico-legal claims against it.
Only change under a DA-led government will ensure that the rights of patients are respected and medical resources are protected, so that citizens living in rural areas can also experienced first class health services as opposed to second rate medical care.
Isak Fritz, MPL
DA Northern Cape Spokesperson of Health
083 395 2737
Shelley De Witt
082 847 1387