MEC Dr Dhlomo with one of the patients, Mamizi Khumalo. Picture: KZN Health Department

Johannesburg - The Health & Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa) on Wednesday criticised the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) department of health for the dismal health standards in the province’s public health facilities.

The criticism comes after the KZN MEC for Health Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo visited the Church of Scotland Hospital in Tugela Ferry and found patients sleeping on benches and on the floor.

Hospersa spokesperson Kevin Halama said: “The picture of patients sleeping on benches and on the floor has become the sad reality of the health care service in KZN."

“We maintain our stance that the poor management of public health by the MEC has led to a collapse in the service. His resignation would bring new hope to the many patients directly affected by the poor service and restore dignity to the many dejected health care workers forced to work under poor conditions." 

The embattled MEC was also recently issued with a notice to appear before the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) over the reported lack of meaningful progress in dealing with the provincial oncology crisis. In June last year, the SAHRC released a damning report on the state of oncology services in the KZN.

The SAHRC recommended that steps be taken to repair and monitor all the health technology machines including the Computed Tomography (CT) scanners and the radiotherapy machines regardless of contractual disputes. The SAHRC also ordered the adoption of a management plan to deal with the backlog as well as the adoption of an interim referral management plan to facilitate the referral of patients to private service providers for screening, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.  

"Hospersa has been vocal about the cancer crisis since 2009 when the KZN DoH was caught up in a multi-million rand corruption scandal involving the maintenance contract of radiography machines at Addington Hospital. It is almost ten years since the scandal broke and nothing has been done to the implicated officials. Instead, the KZN MEC for Health continues to mismanage the province’s health portfolio leading to a collapse of oncology service in the province’s public health facilities,” added Halama.

Halama said Hospersa will continue to campaign for these burning problems to be addressed in order for patients to receive the quality public health care service they deserve.

African News Agency/ANA