Middelburg hospital a humanitarian crisis

James Masango MPL

Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition

The Middelburg provincial hospital is in throes of a severe humanitarian crisis as doctors, nurses and other medical staff embarked on a strike over staff shortages, dilapidated infrastructure, non-payment of overtime and malfunctioning vehicles and other equipment.

The DA this morning paid an oversight visit to this hospital, and was shocked at the horrific conditions patients and medical staff are subjected to:

* There are only five doctors on staff, and severe shortages of nurses;

* Staff overtime is paid three months in arrears;

* The hospital itself is filthy dirty due to a shortage of cleaning staff;

* Laundry staff have been on strike for six days now, and patients do not receive clean linen;

* The cars used for patient transport are in a shocking state and their roadworthiness is in serious doubt; Buildings and grounds are not maintained, and the DA believes that the staff accommodation is a safety risk and unfit for human occupation.

* Living quarters are in a complete state of disrepair;

* Female nurses on the fourth floor are expected to share the kitchen and bathroom with birds that enter through the roof and defecate all over;

* Ceilings are rotten and have collapsed

* There is not a single groundsman employed by the hospital, and grass in many places is waist-high.

Much of it was cut on Tuesday night in anticipation of health MEC Candith Mashego-Dlamini’s visit. The DA is highly concerned over this hospital’s readiness for any kind of emergency, and it is highly doubtful that, with the Easter long weekend upon us, it is equipped to deal with multiple road accident victims requiring urgent medical attention. During the course of the past months, the DA has conducted visits to a number of hospitals across Mpumalanga, and we rate Middelburg Hospital as the worst hospital in the province, and potentially in the country.

It is an absolute shame that following her visit to the hospital, MEC Mashego-Dlamini left there without making any concrete commitment to improve conditions – effectively condemning thousands of potential patients to purgatory. A DA government would not have allowed the dignity of medical personnel and the public be violated in such a crude and inhumane manner.

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