Durban's Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital hit by protest action
Staff at Durban's Inkosi Albert Central Hospital, which has had over 40 employees test positive for Covid-19, embarked on protest action on Thursday.
It is understood that disgruntled staff had starting gathering outside the hospital gates from 7am to voice their concerns over a “myriad of issues”.
Staff, mostly members of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu), are expected to present a memorandum detailing their concerns to the health department on Thursday morning.
In a notice about the impending action the union said: “National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union, representing majority of employees at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital, over three months has been involved in discussion with the management of the hospital in trying to resolve a myriad of issues that affect out members including testing of staff, providing PPEs, quarantine and isolation of the staff, shortage of staff.
“But all our efforts were in vain. We therefore call to the department to come and receive our memorandum.”
Last week the hospital's CEO, Dr Thandeka Khanyile, reportedly revealed during an oversight visit by the KwaZulu-Natal legislature health portfolio committee that one of the biggest challenges facing the state facility was the increasing number of staff calling in sick as the infection rate increased.
She said that the growing number of staff being infected with Covid-19 had affected the hospital's ability to render services to patients.
42 infected patients had been admitted to the hospital during May and June, seven of whom had died.
It is understood that 42 staff had tested positive and most of the infections had happened recently.
A staff member, who did want to be identified, said: “Nurses and other staff are fed up. We are scared to even treat patients now. Too many staff and patients have been infected.”
The provincial health department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.