DURBAN - THE swift appointment of a CEO at the Catherine Booth Hospital on the North Coast will go a long way towards solving the problems that have been experienced at the health facility.
This is the view of labour union National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) which has written to Health Head of Department Dr Sandile Tshabalala over the problems at the hospital.
This comes after it emerged at the weekend that the hospital had been without power for two days.
The KwaZulu-Natal Health Department confirmed yesterday that the hospital had been without electricity and said this had been due to electrical repair work that had been conducted by power utility Eskom.
“First, as of this afternoon, power has been restored at Catherine Booth Hospital.
“That said, the department apologises for the temporary disruption of electricity supply which affected the normal functioning of the facility,” said provincial Health Department spokesperson Ntokozo Maphisa yesterday.
He added that the power supply problem had not been limited to the hospital but had affected the entire area surrounding it.
“During the power failure, the hospital’s contingency plan was effected, which included the activation of the power generator. Only three patients who were not stable were transferred to a neighbouring hospital, while the rest continued to receive care,” Maphisa continued.
He pointed out that when it became apparent that the available diesel for the generator would be depleted, the hospital proceeded to procure additional supplies.
According to the spokesperson, the service provider supplying diesel was blocked from accessing the hospital by certain members of the community, on the basis that he was not a local resident.
“We must state that we find such actions objectionable, and condemn them in the strongest possible terms.
“It was only when the police were called that the hospital was able to get the diesel supplies.
“The situation has gone back to normal, and is being closely monitored,” Maphisa concluded.
Nehawu spokesperson Ayanda Zulu said they were concerned about the problems at the hospital.
“There has been a situation in the past where there was no water at the hospital.
“Now you can imagine that a health institution needs to operate and observe rules of hygiene and without water it is very difficult to do so,” said Zulu.
He added that the problems pointed to the absence of leadership at the institution.
“This is why we have now written to the HOD calling on him to fast track the appointment of a hospital CEO so that operational issues get attended to quickly,” Zulu stressed.
Democratic Nursing Organisation general secretary Oscar Phaka said they had not received any information about the power supply problems from their provincial structures and were unable to comment.
Health portfolio committee chairperson Nomakiki Majola said they had not been alerted to the problem of power supply at the hospital and would seek answers from the department at the next meeting.
The committee is in northern KZN visiting health-care facilities as part of its oversight work.