‘Drunk nurse’ still reporting for duty

Cape Town - A Khayelitsha nurse, who allegedly got drunk on duty and ordered a sickly patient to stand while undergoing a blood pressure test, is still at work.

Mark van der Heever, spokesman for the provincial Health Department, confirmed the nurse was still working at the Khayelitsha Community Health Centre (CHC), but said the disciplinary process was expected to start soon with the nurse having been issued a notice of disciplinary action.

Mabelandile Mankayi says his ill mother was treated by a drunk nurse at Khayelitsha CHC Hospital. Picture: Cindy Waxa. Credit: INLSA

“She is still working at the facility pending the disciplinary process. The process has started with her being given notice of the disciplinary hearing, gathering of statements and the subsequent meeting with the complainant,” he said.

Van der Heever couldn’t say how long the investigation process was expected to take, saying this depended on information gathered and witnesses to be interviewed.

The disciplinary action follows a complaint made by Mabhelandile Mankayi, of Khayelitsha, to the management of the clinic.

Mankayi told the Cape Argus how he watched “in awe and disbelief” as the night shift nurse, who reeked of alcohol, became abusive towards him and his mother, Caroline.

Mankayi had taken his mother to the hospital’s trauma unit after she had fallen ill with chest and abdominal pains that made it difficult for her to stand or walk. But the nurse, who was in a foul mood and had bloodshot eyes, got so angry that she ordered Mankayi’s mother to stand while she had her blood pressure taken.

Van der Heever said similar incidents had been recorded and two staff members had been dismissed in the past three years - one for abusive behaviour towards a client and one for unprofessional conduct.

The incident comes less than a year after Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found that some of the province’s nurses were coming to work drunk.

After a lengthy investigation into nurse’s conduct at the Gugulethu CHC, Madonsela ordered the department to clean up its act - and to immediately improve conditions at the clinic, such as cleanliness and staff conduct. - Cape Argus