GAUTENG Health MEC Bandile Masuku announces an out-of-court settlement at Martha Marais’s home in Eersterus after an incident at Mamelodi Hospital which went viral on social media in May last year.

RUSTENBURG - The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has welcomed the settlement reached in the Martha Marais matter, in which the pensioner will be compensated by the Gauteng health department. 

The settlement amount has not been disclosed.

Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku on Sunday announced that Marais would now receive her treatment from Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria.

Marais, 76, was tied to a bench while she was waiting to receive treatment at the Mamelodi Hospital east of Pretoria in May last year.

Her daughter found her lying on the floor with her hands bound to the bench in the hospital waiting area.

The pensioner was severely traumatised as a result of the incident. Her family reported that she barely communicated with them other than to repeatedly recount the experience.

The SAHRC assisted her in taking action against the department. A settlement agreement was reached in November.  

Commission spokesperson Buang Jones said they welcomed the department's undertaking to provide special training for staff in the treatment of elderly and vulnerable patients.

"Further, with regard to frail care facilities, the incident at the Mamelodi Hospital showed the lack of necessary skills and capacity to assist older persons, and the shortage of equipment required to render proper assistance. 

"As a result of these and other barriers to accessing adequate health care, older persons find it difficult to attend public clinics or hospitals, and only do so when illness is at an advanced stage and irreversible.

"The commission reaffirms its support for the department’s initiative aimed at addressing the persistent challenges that continue to plague the provincial health system and further supports the use of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in cases similar to that of Mrs Marais, and reiterates its readiness to contribute to this initiative by the department of health to reduce their medico-legal claims," Jones said.

Masuku said the department was working on a five-year plan that included ensuring that health workers were provided with necessary equipment and a new CEO at the Mamelodi Hospital.

African News Agency