'It'll all be sorted out once construction is completed'
WHILE Brits Hospital CEO Themba Mhlanga refused to comment on the status of his hospital, the provincial health department said most of the allegations stemmed from the fact that the hospital was still under construction. It is expected to be finished early next year.
However, North West health spokesman Tebogo Lekgethwane said the "makeshift" hospital was not meant to be a fully fledged hospital. He said arrangements had been made with three other hospitals in the province to help patients that need surgical theatre.
Regarding the use of uncomfortable chairs for mothers to breastfeed in the paediatric ward, Lekgethwane said the ward has always provided Kangaroo chairs.
"However, some have become obsolete due to wear and tear. Mattresses cannot be provided because there will be a need for space to store these when not in use."
He dismissed the allegations of the physiotherapy unit that turned into a white elephant because of broken machines.
He said there was no problem with only one machine in physiotherapy.
"There is one machine, an electrotherapy, which has some problem but it is working."
He admitted that there was a shortage of non-sterile gloves (this month) and toilet paper in August (because of the service provider) but said there was an "abundance" of sterile gloves.
"The reality is that there are times when one will not find toilet paper, one of the reasons being that both patients and staff at times take toilet rolls for their personal use - stealing," Lekgethwane said.
He also denied allegations of staff shortage in the laundry department, saying three workers were considered enough since their job was mainly to sort laundry since no washing was done at the hospital.
He said he knew nothing about the septic circumcisions.
Lekgethwane said gas cylinders were kept only for emergencies and that they did not pose any danger as there were "no smoking" signs in the wards.
He said they closed the pharmacy after hours and on weekends because there was not much work for pharmacists at night.
"But casualty keeps some essential medicines," he added.
Lekgethwane said the waste holding area was lockable.
"It might not have been locked on the said day (when Sowetan visited).''
About the labour department inspection of the hospital last year, Lekgethwane said there was no mention of a shutdown.
Regarding the dead man that lay in the casualty ward for 15 hours while children played around his bed, Lekgethwane said since it was a forensic case only government mortuary staff could remove the body from the ward.
This article was first published in the printed newspaper on 22 October 2012