Four doctors at Durban’s Addington Hospital are being probed by the KwaZulu-Natal Health Department for spending the hours in which they should be attending to state patients working in their private practices.
Health Department head Sibongile Zungu said yesterday the doctors had breached their employment contracts and risked patients’ lives at the hospital.
Another 30 doctors in other provincial hospitals were also being investigated for similar offences.
“For now we are investigating four doctors at Addington, but there might be more in this hospital who are doing the same thing,” said Zungu.
She was at Addington Hospital yesterday to brief the media on the progress of the hospital’s turnaround plan.
Three managers – acting nursing manager Thabisile Sakyi, finance manager Philile Zungu and systems manager Cebo Myeza – have been appointed to deal with the hospital’s failure to treat patients properly.
The four offending doctors were illegally spending time with their private patients to benefit from medical aid schemes, Zungu said.
“We have enough doctors in this hospital, but they are never here when they are needed. State doctors should be at work between 8am and 4pm.
“Corruption comes in many forms. More patients with medical aids go to private surgeries than come to public health institutions,” she said.
A number of other investigations into corruption were taking place at the hospital.
“There are 20 people who are being investigated for fraud and corruption – eight are senior managers,” said Zungu.
More than R20-million worth of stock, which had been |procured in March, had disappeared. According to invoices the stock had been ordered from service providers.
“It you look at this, the stock would not have been all used up by now. We have to establish if the stock was delivered. The |invoices indicate the stock was delivered, but wards have been complaining about not being maintained or cleaned,” said Zungu.
The hospital is undergoing a facelift and the complete refurbishment would cost R142m.
The hospital’s acting nursing manager, Sakyi, who is the clinical and programmes manager in the Health Department’s Zululand district, said a complete overhaul of how the hospital operated would have to be carried out.
“We have to start by investigating the cause of the things that are not right,” said Sakyi.
“We have to build a team to help put the hospital back on track. We have to build capacity for the managers to do their jobs. We have to make sure that all the stores are well functioning.
“We have to get people with skills,”she said.