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Thohoyandou - Red tape is responsible for the dire state at Limpopo's Tshilidzini Hospital, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela was told by hospital staff on Tuesday.
Communicating their needs annually to provincial health authorities had not borne fruit, doctors and nurses told Madonsela, during a surprise visit to the facility in Thohoyandou.
Madonsela was in Limpopo as part of her office's national stakeholder dialogue.
“We regularly borrow equipment from other hospitals. Sometimes they take back their equipment and we have to beg,” she was told by a nurse, according to a statement released by the Protector's office.
The hospital was in dire need of surgical items such as gloves and masks.
“Unlike other hospitals that the Public Protector has been to, Tshilidzini does not have sanitisers to disinfect visitors to its high care wards, something that ought to be a standard procedure,” said another staff member.
Madonsela was told the 55-year-old hospital was in short supply of anaesthetic machines, suction machines, patient monitors, diathermy machines, autoclaving machines and tourniquets.
Officials blamed bureaucracy for the non-renewal of procurement contracts which more than six months ago.
She was told that the hospital's human resources were also overstretched, with only 24 doctors, few specialists and no resident paediatricians.
Staff said two paediatricians from Mankweng Hospital, in Polokwane, visited twice a month as part of their outreach.
They said a major impediment to the recruitment and retention of professionals was incentives; the hospital's rural location was a major disincentive for doctors and other professionals as the rural allowance offered was the same as that provided to doctors who chose to work at semi-urban hospitals.
“There is a need for the different degrees of 'rural areas' to be reflected in these allowances,” the staff said.