Healthcare ails patients

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Patients attending Durban's two main public hospitals, Addington and Wentworth, are fed up with the deteriorating service at the hospitals.

Sowetan has been inundated with calls from concerned patients and relatives about the lack of proper service delivery.

Complaints range from patients having to wait for more than 10 hours before being seen by medical staff. Others complain that the staff, especially the nurses, show no mercy or work ethic towards the sick and spend hours doing nothing "but chatting to each other".

When patients or concerned members of the public complain, the staff ignore them. Some patients told of how they were forced to go home without receiving treatment.

Others said they spend nights camping outside the hospital or sleeping on benches so that they can be attended to first when the hospitals open the next morning.

Thelma Malinga, a city resident, said she and a relative had to wait for more than 10 hours before getting help at Addington hospital

"We arrived there at 2pm, but at midnight we were still waiting on the benches. There were others left standing in the queue because they could no longer sit on the benches.

"The nurses were rude and just said they did not know what time the doctor would arrive."

A family from Lamontville spent seven hours at Wentworth hospital.

"I rushed my sick son, aged six, to the hospital. It was a weekday and despite appeals for prompt help, none of the nurses would help us.

"At any given time, there were up to four nurses and one doctor on duty. We waited for more than six hours before being attended to," said Sdu Maphumulo.

He said when his child was finally attended to, the service was shocking.

"There are no routine check-ups. There isn't a commitment by staff to help the sick."

Provincial health department spokesman Leon Mbangwa said nurses and doctors have a mandate to cooperate and assist patients.

"We have serious crises with our hospital management and clinical governance. We acknowledge that there is a staff shortage, but that does not encourage lack of compassion from our staff," he said.

Mbangwa said the MEC Peggy Nkonyeni and acting health HOD Yoliswa Mbhele are investigating the matter.