DA’s Bloom kicked out of hospital

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jack bloom july 21 INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS DA MPL Jack Bloom will approach Gauteng legislature Speaker Ntombi Mekgwe over his right to make unannounced hospital visits after he was kicked out of Helen Joseph Hospital. File picture: Etienne Creux

Johannesburg -

DA MPL Jack Bloom will approach Gauteng legislature speaker Ntombi Mekgwe over his right to make unannounced hospital visits after he was kicked out of Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg.

“The Democratic Alliance will take it up with the Speaker to enforce my rights,” Bloom said on Monday.

“It's a right and duty of public representatives to see for themselves the condition of hospitals.”

Bloom went to Helen Joseph Hospital and cleaned outside the facility with other volunteers as part of Mandela Day volunteer work on Friday.

“I then went inside the hospital to check on complaints about broken lifts and poor cleanliness. I found five broken lifts and was checking the toilets on each floor when security guards apprehended me and took me to the CEO’s office,” he said.

“CEO Raymond Billa said that I did not have permission to visit from either the health MEC (Qedani Mahlangu) or the chairperson of the legislature’s health committee, and I was then escorted to my car by security guards.”

Bloom said Mahlangu must be called to order by Mekgwe for obstructing his visit.

“MEC Mahlangu's instructions to the hospital to obstruct my visit are outrageous,” he said.

Three years ago, Bloom was banned from Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, and his picture was posted at the gate.

The ban was overturned by the Gauteng speaker and the integrity commissioner, who endorsed Bloom's right to conduct oversight at hospitals, including unannounced visits.

On Monday, Bloom vowed to continue visiting hospitals.

“My right to visit should be reaffirmed once again,” he said.

“Over the years, there have been attempts to bar me from visiting hospitals, and I don't know why this is happening again.”

In March, Bloom claimed that operations at Helen Joseph Hospital had been reduced because of leaking roofs.

He alleged that four operations a day had been cancelled for about two weeks, as anaesthetic machines could not be used for fear that they could be permanently damaged. As a result, theatre lists had been cut.

At the time, provincial health spokesman Simon Zwane said the DA had its facts wrong.

“There was no leaking roof. There was a problem with the cooling system. It has been attended to and resolved,” Zwane said.

He said when the cooling system was attended to other operating theatres in the hospital were used.

His colleague, Prince Hamnca, told Sapa he would comment shortly on the current allegations, after getting the facts on the matter from the hospital CEO.

He was quoted as telling The New Age that protocols in hospitals should be observed by all.

“There are certain protocols that should be observed. Why can't Bloom observe them like everyone else?” Hamnca was quoted as saying. - Sapa


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