A delegation of the North West Department of Health, led by MEC Madoda Sambatha, visited the Brits District Hospital on Monday after allegations and video footage of ill treatment of patients.
A delegation of the North West Department of Health, led by MEC Madoda Sambatha, visited the Brits District Hospital on Monday after allegations and video footage of ill treatment of patients. This follows a public outcry after a video clip of sick patients lying on the hospital floor went viral on social media. A civic organisation, Save Madibeng, wrote a letter to Sambatha, giving him seven days to respond to the dire situation.
In the video clip, an elderly woman is seen lying on the floor. Several others are sitting on uncomfortable seats or lying on the floor. Some of them had been there for 16 hours by teh time the video was filmed.
Sambatha and his team, consisting of the administrator Jeanette Hunter, Acting DDG for Health Services Pule Monale and the District Management visited the hospital on Monday on a fact finding mission and engaged a number of stakeholders including the hospital management, board, labour unions and the community organisation, Save Madibeng, who lodged the complaint.
The Norht West health department acknowledged that the picture depicted in the video clips is indeed a true indication of the challenges faced by Brits Hospital. Sambatha said patients were not fairly treated and consequence management will be applied.
During a meeting with the various stakeholders, unions suggested that staff morale is low and might influence nurses’ attitude to patients. Sambatha quickly replied that the ill treatment of patients is not the result of staff morale, but of negligence. “And there is no shortage of staff here to motivate the actions. It is just wrong. And every one who works here and saw a patient lying on the floor, was wrong,” he said.
During the visit it was revealed that there is lack of substantive appointees in key leadership positions. The department took a decision to fast track the appointment of senior managers at the hospital, including positions of clinical, nursing and allied managers as well as speeding up the disciplinary hearing of the former suspended CEO.
“The Department will further ensure prompt attention and redress of patients complaints, ensure that the complaints mechanism is visible in all areas. Training of staff on customer care will also be prioritised. Poor clinical governance was identified as a key challenge for the hospital and this has a big influence on the undesirable conditions at the hospital. In order to address this, the MEC took a decision to appoint Professor John Tumbu, Professor Benu Luke and the Clinical Manager of JST to oversee strengthening of clinical governance prescripts and quality assurance,” said health department spokesperson Tebogo Lekgwetane. “The Department will appoint quality assurance officers and a dysfunctional patient filling system will also be addressed through strengthening of patient management systems. This intervention will cover filling and archiving systems.”
A challenge of bed management was also identified and a decision was taken to introduce a “bed management software solution”, as well as “quick wins” interventions like using trolleys, beds and Lazy Boy chairs for patients instead of letting them lie on the floor when there is an overflow of patients.
It was also decided to establish a gateway clinic near the hospital as the municipal clinic closes at 16:00, further increasing long queues at the hospital.
An independent investigation into the incident still has to be conducted to establish “who was wrong.” “The outcome of the investigation will be followed by implementation of consequence management to everyone involved.”