Pretoria - The level of chaos at Mamelodi Day Hospital, where a 76-year-old patient from Eersterus Martha Marais was tied to the benches of the waiting area last month, is moving “towards a state of a mortuary”.
These were the words of disappointment expressed by Premier David Makhura during his surprise visit to the hospital on Friday.
He was reacting to bitter complaints by patients about poor services and a lack of respect from the hospital staff.
Water leaks inside a toilet and allegations of missing patient files were among the barrage of complaints aired.
They also had gripes about long queues, forcing patients to wait for at least three hours before receiving medical attention.
Makhura, who was accompanied by Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku and other government officials, described the situation at the hospital as being chaotic, likening it to a mortuary.
“I have been here during the election campaign and people told me that Mamelodi hospital is like a mortuary. I can see that, but at least I haven’t seen dead people so far. But you can see the level of chaos is moving towards the mortuary,”he said
Makhura said some of the problems with patients’ files were because of the manual filing system, adding the government wanted to digitalise filing as a solution. “Some of these problems the MEC will sort out in a short space of time. Some problems related to the infrastructure capacity. There are a million people being served here.”
He said his administration ought to put in place the service delivery model that worked. “It starts with the leadership. There is an acting CEO at this hospital and in the next 100 days in all hospitals in Gauteng, there will be no acting CEO,” he said.
Masuku said changing staff attitude towards patients was not going to happen overnight. “I have been here over a period of time and I am still going to come. We are dealing with issues of correcting the attitudes and also uplifting the staff morale,” he said.
He said overcrowding of patients could be attributed to the tendency of people who prefer hospitals to clinics. “Most of the people who are here are not supposed to be here. The only people who (should) come to hospital are those needing serious intervention of health. A check-up can be done in clinics,” he said.
Makhura said nurses were unable to cope with the numbers at the hospital, because the hospital was expected to cater for a population of more than a million. “This is one example of a bad place that, at the end of my term, will be a pleasant place to visit as a patient,” he said.
A month ago a video of Marais tied to the benches of the waiting area went viral on social media, sparking intervention from authorities such as the Human Rights Commission and the Department of Social Development.
Earlier on the premier visited Mamelodi East police station, where most of the investigations related to crime cases involving a taxi boss Vusi Khekhe were allegedly botched.
He expressed satisfaction after he received feedback from the station managers on how they turned around the crime situation.
“Four months ago I was at the police station and the complaints were as bitter as the ones in this hospital and we took a decision that we are going to make changes,” he said.
He said the leadership was changed and the recent statistics showed that in June the situation had seriously improved. “People are giving a very good feedback,” Makhura said.