Thabazimbi Hospital investigated

THABAZIMBI – Almost all the nurses employed at the Thabazimbi Hospital were demonstrating, singing and waving around posters in front of the administration building of the Thabazimbi Hospital on Friday 26 February.

Posters carrying slogans such as “Away with the CEO and clinical manager”, “Doctors have resigned because of the poor management”, “Nurses are working under strenuous (sic) conditions. No doctors to see patients” and “Patients are dying every day without being seen”, were carried around.

Matters reached break point on Friday after a 30-year old woman and her baby died during childbirth in the hospital (report elsewhere).
The Department of Health responded by saying that the Thabazimbi Hospital is fully functional.

Nurses threatened to continue with their sit-in as part of their protest action against unbearable working conditions until their grievances received attention from higher authorities.

On Tuesday a team of officials visited the hospital to look into the matter.

The nurses’ main complaint centered around the “maladministration” under CEO, Mr Makinta, acting Matron Ncube and dr Mabena, Clinical Manager at the hospital. According to the nurses most of the nine doctors employed by the hospital has left on account of the bad management. The hospital has a serious shortage of doctors, they say.

The nurses said they were getting sick and tired of telling the patients that doctors will see them, knowing full well that the doctors never pitch up. They have gone so far as to send patients to the administration building to force the doctor to see the patients in their own offices.

Some patients have not been seen for five days or more by a doctor and doctors even expect of them to prescribe medicine to patients at the Wellness Clinic, the nurses say. Lately, on doctors’ instructions, the nurses have ordered patients to go home. Sometimes the doctors do not even pitch up for their shifts.

According to the nurses they also live in the community and it is hard for them to treat friends and family this way.

Police were also present on Friday morning and attempted to calm things down. The nurses were recommended to follow proper grievance procedures. Procedures have in fact already been instituted in November 2009 when a Waterberg District Manager and Risk Manager were delegated to Thabazimbi Hospital for an investigation.

The nurses are very unhappy that they have so far not been notified of the contents of their report.

When Die Kwêvoël arrived at the hospital on Friday Mr Makinta pressed his hand over the lens of the reporter’s camera and ordered the reporter to leave since nobody was allowed on the premises without an invitation. The nurses intervened and said that they had invited the media.
The leader of the DA in Limpopo, Desiree van der Walt, visited the hospital on Monday, and was taken to Makinta’s office. Makinta did not make an appearance and Van der Walt had to leave without having accomplished anything.

According to a statement by Selby Makgotho, media spokesperson at the Limpopo Department of Health, the Department is “aware of the situation at the Thabazimbi Hospital”. “We have had discussions with all the affected parties and … we have reached consensus.

“It was not correct for the nursing staff to stage protest marches at the expense of patients. To this effect, we are considering our options carefully and will soon advise on the next course of action.

“The DA came into the picture when the Department has already been on with its investigations. We are waiting for the outcome, which will be completed in due course.”

Makgotho concluded by saying that Thabazimbi is a fully functional hospital.

Hennie Pauw