Service with a scowl

Don't dare blink if you are a patient at a public hospital, lest you miss all the ubuntu likely to be provided in those hellholes.

Don't dare blink if you are a patient at a public hospital, lest you miss all the ubuntu likely to be provided in those hellholes.

Despite the protestations of unions and officials, and government initiatives such as the Batho Pele campaign and the Patients' Rights Charter, nurses still treat patients like dirt.

Sure, underpaid healthcare workers usually toil away in appalling conditions. But a fat pay cheque has nothing to do with simple humanity.

First and foremost, we expect our public officials to treat us with dignity and respect.

Little Oteng Machailwe got neither when he waited two days for treatment at Rustenburg Provincial Hospital, though the infant boy was an emergency case suffering from meningitis.

Now he is crippled and brain damaged, and the province must shell out R5,2million for his care.

Until nurses exercise just a modicum of initiative and humanity and function as professionals, they deserve not one extra cent in their pay packages.

Service delivery has as much to do with a state of mind as it has to do with resources. And we should already have rid the public service of bums paid with our taxes who lord it over us and lack the disposition to perform their jobs humanely.

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