Bara Hospital hit by high absenteeism

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC

The Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital suffers from high absenteeism, losing 3306 work days last year.

This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

669 employees out of a total staff of 6494 took off from work in 2013, only 20% of which was due to illness. 60% were absent without prior arrangement, 10% absconded and another 10% was for various reasons.

The highest absenteeism rate (15%) was among Allied Support Staff, but there was zero absenteeism in Management and Heads of Department, 1.6% absent amongst doctors, and 5.7% amongst nurses.

It is of great concern that overall one in ten workers at the hospital was absent, mostly for unexplained reasons, but only 7 employees were disciplined.

High absenteeism puts strain on other workers and leads to a poorer standard of care. Medical staff are not receiving proper back-up because of the absence of many support workers, including porters and cleaners.

Hospital management should get tough on unexplained absence and exercise effective discipline to ensure a greater presence at work.