Tembisa Hospital confirmed that critically ill patients are being admitted despite wards reaching their capacity. Picture: Supplied

 Johannesburg - Tembisa Hospital confirmed on Thursday that critically ill patients were being admitted despite wards reaching their capacity, due to high demand for healthcare services in Tembisa and surrounding areas, especially pregnant mothers as they could not be turned away.

An outcry erupted on social media following photos and posts about overcrowding at the facility, ostensibly from frustrated nurses affiliated to the Young Nurses Indaba Trade (YNITU) who were airing their frustrations over the situation.

Shared pictures show overcrowding in the hospital's maternity ward where at some point staff had to care for 192 patients in the facility that was meant for 51 patients.

The hospital acknowledged in a statement that admitting more patients than the ward could accommodate was not ideal, but said that the demand and the increase in the burden of diseases made this unavoidable. 

Tembisa Hospital said the situation was compounded by a lack of lower-level hospitals close by, which could be used for down referral purposes. 

"With regards to the social media post, we wish to clarify some misleading information," the statement said. 

"Firstly, the ward was supposed to have four midwives; however, due to ill-health to one of the midwives, there were three midwives not two as stated in the post. In addition to that, there were three enrolled nurses and one operational manager.  Altogether there were seven staff members in the ward," it said. 

"Secondly, the ward had 80 pregnant patients, not 96 as alleged. The hospital serves a population size of 1.2 million and delivers more than 1 400 babies a month. This means the hospital delivers second highest number of babies in the country," it said.

The hospital also called on the community of Tembisa and surrounding areas to use primary healthcare centres and local government clinics closer to their homes, to ensure the hospital uses its resources on critical patients. 

African News Agency (ANA)