Gauteng DA not happy with implementation of health ombud’s Rahima Moosa Hospital recommendations

1494 It was a normal day at Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital today. Picture: Nigel Sibanda.

1494 It was a normal day at Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital today. Picture: Nigel Sibanda.

Published Jun 7, 2023


Johannesburg - The Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital is slowly turning the tide against a litany of adverse findings made by the health ombudsman against it.

This comes barely three months after the release of the ombudsman's report, and the hospital has partially implemented some of the ombudsman’s recommendations.

Ahead of the probe by the ombudsman, it was reported that expectant mothers were sleeping on the hospital floor and that the hospital’s CEO, Dr Nozuko Precious Mkabayi, was not working full-time to ensure everything ran smoothly at the hospital. It was further reported that since her appointment on January 1, 2021, the CEO had only spent 182 days at the hospital.

However, the DA in Gauteng is not happy with the slow movement and implementation of these recommendations.

On Wednesday, DA Gauteng shadow MEC of Health Jack Bloom said there was "mixed progress" by the Gauteng Health Department in implementing the recommendations of the health ombud’s report on the Rahima Moosa Hospital, which was released on March 14 this year.

In March, the office of the health ombudsman released a damning report against the hospital, detailing some of the key issues affecting the provision of quality health-care services.

The investigation was undertaken following a complaint lodged by a member of Parliament’s health portfolio committee, Haseenabanu Ismail, into allegations of circumstances relating to the care of expectant mothers at the Rahima Moosa Hospital.

In his recommendation, the ombudsman encouraged the hospital to appoint a permanent CEO as a matter of urgency, as some of the issues were a result of the hospital not having a permanent CEO.

Bloom said the lack of progress in some of the key recommendations was indicated to him in a written reply by Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko when he asked her questions at the Gauteng legislature.

“A key recommendation was that a new hospital CEO be appointed within three months. According to the MEC, the post was advertised with a closing date of May 5, and a selection process is under way.

“Another recommendation is that the hospital be prioritised for refurbishment within six months. The MEC says the hospital has been included in the priority hospital programme, and a schedule of maintenance works has been identified, with initial funds to start immediately,“ Bloom said.

However, on the positive side, Bloom said a “smart fridge”, which was supposed to be installed within one month, was installed within the specified time frame, as was the building of a discharge lounge.

Bloom said he was satisfied that a disciplinary action against a nurse who created her own medication had been wrapped up.

“Disciplinary action has been taken against a nurse who used her own concoction for infection control, but the former CEO, Dr Nozuko Mkabayi, has not yet been disciplined for her failings.

“The biggest disappointment is the failure to appoint an independent forensic and audit firm within two months. The Office of the Premier is still busy with the process of appointing an independent forensic and audit firm,” he said.

One other positive outcome, Bloom said, was the application to have the hospital upgraded to a tertiary health facility.

“It’s good news that an application has been made to convert the hospital into a tertiary institution, as this will allow access to national tertiary service grants. A draft human resources plan has been developed, which needs further work in relation to the reclassification of the hospital as a tertiary institution.

“The key to further progress is whether a top-notch CEO is chosen soon and is given the resources to fundamentally improve this hospital to provide a decent service to mothers and children,” he said.

However, the department said work to implement all the recommendations made by the ombudsman remains on track.

"The process to appoint a new CEO is at an advanced stage; the position was advertised with a closing date of May 5, 2023, and the selection process is underway."

"As part of efforts to ensure stability and proper management capabilities, we have appointed an interim acting CEO while the appointment of a permanent leadership is being concluded. Previously, the appointment of a CEO used to take six months; however, the department is reviewing its recruitment policy," the department said in a statement.

The department spokesperson, Motalatale Modiba, added that refurbishment efforts were being carried out to ensure that the hospital acts on all other recommendations made by the ombudsman.

The Star