One in five posts empty at New Natalspruit Hospital

By Jack Bloom MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health:

The New Natalspruit Hospital in Vosloorus is short of 382 staff out of 1932 posts, which is a 20% vacancy rate.

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

The biggest shortage is for nurses, with 122 vacant nursing posts.

Other shortages are as follows:

  • Support staff – 97 vacant posts
  • Administration – 73 vacant posts
  • Allied health services – 48 vacant posts
  • Doctors – 12 vacant posts

It is worrying that overall, one in five posts are empty, but it is much higher in certain areas, such as 20 out of 43 pharmacy posts are empty, 10 out of 20 occupational therapy posts and 12 out of 24 posts for Anti-Retroviral Therapy.

The hospital has a 82% bed occupancy rate, but the Pre-neonatal unit is grossly overcrowded at 107% occupancy. The medical ward is also strained with 95% occupancy.

According to Mahlangu: “the high bed occupancy rate can be attributed to an increase in patient volumes as the result of burden of disease in our communities.”

The average waiting time at the Paediatric and Outpatient departments is two hours.

This new hospital was opened last year with high hopes, but the staff shortage lowers the quality of care, which is particularly bad in the maternity section.

The vacant posts need to be filled as soon as possible to improve patient care.