WITS Donald Gordon Medical Centre in Parktown.     Timothy Bernard African News Agency (ANA)
WITS Donald Gordon Medical Centre in Parktown. Timothy Bernard African News Agency (ANA)

Donald Gordon Medical Centre staff accuse management of negligence amid rising Covid-19 cases

By Chulumanco Mahamba Time of article published Jul 7, 2020

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Employees at Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre have alleged that staff coronavirus cases are steadily increasing, but that the hospital continues to operate with little deep cleaning.

Employees at the hospital in Parktown said they were concerned about their safety as the number of staff cases allegedly increased every week.

An employee who asked to remain anonymous said the hospital continued to admit Covid-19 patients and that many staff members tested positive.

“The hospital is admitting patients who have coronavirus and there are many people who work for the hospital that are quarantined at home including nurses and sisters,” the employee said.

The employee claimed that there were more than 20 staff members at the hospital who tested positive for the virus, however, the hospital has not temporarily closed down.

The medical centre’s chief executive and hospital manager, Dr Sue Tager, however, told The Staron Monday that in the four months since the start of the pandemic, “roughly 5% of the extended staff workforce tested positive”.

“These individuals have been identified through various mechanisms, which include proactive random staff testing, daily access screening, and testing of those who have developed symptoms,” she said.

Tager said staff concerns were “extremely” important for the hospital.

The employee added that they felt the hospital was negligent as there was no adequate deep cleaning taking place.

“There really hasn’t been any deep cleaning happening here and patients are just being admitted here. In every hospital there are patients who are admitted because they tested positive, but they are at least cleaning, here people aren’t cleaning,” the employee said.

Tager said although at times temporary closure was warranted, the closure of a hospital would result in the loss of critical bed capacity and care services from the greater health-care system.

“Each staff infection is assessed within the context of the particular department concerned, and actions are taken accordingly. The focused action in an area where any staff member has tested positive includes thorough contact tracing and testing, or isolation of contacts, where required,” Tager said, adding that deep cleaning was a vital part of the hospital’s daily strategy to contain the virus.

“One of the first measures Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre put in place at the start of the pandemic was to increase the number of cleaning staff on site to be able to perform frequent environmental cleaning,” she said.

Another employee added that staff members felt the hospital needed to be more “cautious” with them and adequately clean the facilities.

“It feels like the hospital is being reckless and they are not thinking about the safety of us here,” the employee said.

Tager said the medical centre engaged with staff frequently in person and using various other platforms to address their safety concerns.

“Where these are brought to our attention, we immediately engage with the staff, hear their concerns and then implement plans to ensure that these concerns are addressed adequately,” she said.


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