Hospital to get huge cash injection

The Health Department says the Eastern Cape's Frere Hospital maintenance budget must be increased from R3,5million to R35million, or 5percent of the hospital's total budget.

The Health Department says the Eastern Cape's Frere Hospital maintenance budget must be increased from R3,5million to R35million, or 5percent of the hospital's total budget.

This forms part of recommendations made by a task team appointed to investigate the hospital after 43 babies died at the hospital last month.

A total of 2000 babies were stillborn in the past 14 years at Frere, according to the "abortions and stillbirth book" in the labour ward.

The team's investigation found that the maternity unit, neonatal unit and neonatal ICU were understaffed.

During an unannounced visit to one 32-bed ward, the task team found one professional nurse and one nursing assistant on duty.

There was also an urgent need to increase the number of porters, messengers, general assistants and clerical staff.

"This would help ensure that clinical staff can focus on what they have been trained to do," said the statement. The broken electronic nurse-calling system also had to be replaced.

"Basic equipment was available and interviews with the clinical staff and hospital management indicated that no baby has died as a result of the non-availability of equipment," the statement said.

The hospital had to replace six of its 18 incubators and that elbow-operated taps and additional hand-washing basins be installed to aid infection control.

The findings also noted that the number of unnecessary referrals to Frere Hospital be reduced to allow staff to concentrate on high-risk patients.

The department said anyone with information about inappropriate care should contact the Health Professionals Council of SA or the SA Nursing Council. - Sapa

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