Slow progress in implementing ombud recommendations: Lethole family

28 January 2022 - 07:20
By Ernest Mabuza
The family of  Shonisani   Lethole  - his sister Dakalo, mother Patricia and father Albert  Lethole.  The family says progress has been slow in implementing some of the health ombud's recommendations following his death at Tembisa Hospital in June 2020.
Image: Thulani Mbele The family of Shonisani Lethole - his sister Dakalo, mother Patricia and father Albert Lethole. The family says progress has been slow in implementing some of the health ombud's recommendations following his death at Tembisa Hospital in June 2020.

The family of Shonisani Lethole, who died at Tembisa Hospital of Covid-19 in 2020, says it remains determined to secure justice for Shonisani and continue working with families, communities and campaigners to fix the hospital.

The family released a statement on Thursday on the anniversary of the publication of the health ombudsman’s report on the death of Lethole.

“‘Shonisani died at Tembisa Hospital of Covid-19 in appalling circumstances on June 29 2020.

“The ombud’s report confirmed many, many failures in management, governance and medical care at Tembisa Hospital. It also confirms that Shonisani’s account of what happened was true,” the family said.

It said Shonisani did not receive food for two days on arrival and the last two days as he was dying.

The family said this led to him tweeting the health minister for assistance. He was also admitted to a Covid-19 ward before his test results were confirmed.

“The report made a series of recommendations including addressing management failures, mediation with the family and more.”

The family said in response, the Gauteng department of health said it was “committed to implementing the recommendations of the report within the prescripts of the law, once the department has concluded studying the report and its findings”.

The family said despite this commitment, progress has been painfully slow.

“We welcomed the appointment of the new CEO Dr Ashley Mthunzi in April 2021.

“But since then as a family we are still awaiting news from both Dr Mthunzi and Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi, the Gauteng MEC for health, about the implementation of the ombud’s recommendations.”

The family said it was now 18 months since Shonisani died and it was still suffering.

“A failed attempt at mediation with the government has left us with no option but to pursue legal action.”

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