Hospitals' five-step plan to minimise negligence and human errors

23 January 2017 - 17:25 By Tmg Digital
Outpatients queue to receive chronic medication at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Johannesburg
Outpatients queue to receive chronic medication at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Johannesburg

The country’s largest health facility‚ Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital (CHBAH)‚ does a good job despite high patient numbers‚ the Gauteng health department said on Monday‚ in response to the disclosure that it recorded 62 cases of "serious adverse events" in 2015.

The Soweto based hospital manages about 592‚000 outpatients yearly‚ 51‚000 normal hours casualties and 21‚500 after hours casualties‚ the department said. The facility also performs around 8‚000 caesarean section deliveries in addition to 19‚000 live births annually.

"The hospital personnel takes a great care in managing each patient but‚ unfortunately‚ Serious Adverse Events (SAE’s) do happen from time to time. For 2015 the hospital reported 62 SAEs cases of 586 cases that were recorded for all hospitals and clinics in the province‚" the department said. Serious Adverse Events include allegations of negligence‚ human errors‚ abscondment of patients and system challenges.

  • Gauteng's most dangerous and safest state hospitals“Jubilee Hospital is the most dangerous hospital in Gauteng‚” the Democratic Alliance’s Jack Bloom said on Monday. 

The other three academic hospitals accounted for fewer SAEs in 2015 - ten at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital‚ nine at the George Mukhari Academic Hospital and three at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital.

"In each SAE case‚ progressive discipline such as verbal or written warning‚ suspension with or without pay and dismissal is instituted‚" the department said. "In other instance cases are referred to statutory bodies such as South African Nursing Council and Health Professions Council of South Africa."

"To minimise serious adverse events‚" the department said it has put plans in place‚ which include:

  • All units are expected to conduct continuous risk assessments and clinical audits at least once a month;
  • Monitoring and evaluation of clinical practice through assessments using the National Core Standards;
  • Ongoing reviews of the midwifery practice standards;
  • Management in each facility to place emphasis on consequent management upon completion of investigations; and
  • Gauteng is currently piloting implementation of Continuous Professional Development to enhance clinical skills and competence of nurses.

The department did not state what types of incidents had occurred.

Jack Bloom‚ the Democratic Alliance's health spokesman who obtained the statistics from the Gauteng Department of Health after submitting a request using the Promotion of Access to Information Act‚ said the hospitals with the lowest SAEs are: Heidelberg - one SAE; Edenvale - two SAEs; Tambo Memorial - three SAEs; and Rahima Moosa - four SAEs.

Bloom noted that the “most improved hospital is Tembisa‚ which had 17 SAEs in 2015‚ down from 71 SAEs recorded from January 2012 to September 2013”.

With a total of 503 SAEs in Gauteng state hospitals in 2015‚ Bloom said: “More steps are needed to cut down medical mistakes and ensure that patients are healed rather than injured in our state hospitals.”