Mpumalanga hospitals placed in intensive care

26 June 2014 - 02:00
By Olebogeng Molatlhwa
Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza. File photo
Image: VATHISWA RUSELO Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza. File photo

Mpumalanga's public hospitals have come under fire as being possibly the most haphazard and hazardous in South Africa.

Authorities admitted this week the province's state hospitals were woefully equipped, lacking even basic life-saving equipment.

Other problems identified include:

  • Ageing and dilapidated health facilities;
  • Dysfunctional boilers;
  • Broken-down laundry machines;
  • Leaking roofs;
  • Lack of proper theatre tables;
  • Water shortages;
  • Compromised security owing to a lack of proper fencing around facilities; and
  • Staff shortages.

On Monday, the chief executives of the province's 33 public hospitals engaged in a five-hour long deliberation with premier David Mabuza, revealing the many woes experienced by staff and patients alike at their hospitals.

Many believed the province's health system was on the brink of complete collapse.

Mabuza's spokesman, Zibonele Mncwango, said: "While others complained about lack of enough accommodation for patients, some told the premier about the leaking roofs and lack of proper theatre tables.

"They said their budgets were not sufficient for their operations, and some could not even pay their suppliers.

"They said linen had to be cleaned at faraway hospitals that had [the necessary] equipment."

It also emerged that most of the hospital CEOs were employed in an acting capacity, denying patients the stability that generally comes from sustained leadership.

Mabuza's administration has decided to place the entire provincial health system under curatorship, and the new status quo will remain in place until a turnaround becomes evident.

The decision was taken following a meeting of the provincial executive.

Mncwango confirmed the decision to place the provincial health system under curatorship.

"Generally, the problems faced by the [Mpumalanga] health sector range from human resources, dysfunctional life-saving equipment, dilapidated infrastructure and insufficient budget at the hospitals," he said.

"After some lengthy discussions on the provincial health system, which the lekgotla described as nearing a total collapse, regardless of requisite and direct support, the department was subsequently placed under curatorship.

'The curator will remain until the situation at the hospitals is up to scratch," said Mncwango.

According to Mncwango, a curator had not been appointed by last night.