'Overworked staff often take it out on patients'

DORA Nginza's staff are so overburdened with work that they sometimes take it out on patients, superintendent Dr Aydin Vehbi has admitted.

DORA Nginza's staff are so overburdened with work that they sometimes take it out on patients, superintendent Dr Aydin Vehbi has admitted.

Speaking to Health-e on an investigative programme aired on Carte Blanche recently, Vehbi said his staff chronically worked under stress and that large numbers of healthcare workers were on extended sick leave for depression or depression-related diseases, placing a further burden on the staff.

Not a single nurse or doctor has been dismissed as a result of the litany of complaints alleging gross negligence, even though some of the cases ended up in court.

"Since I've been here, I haven't seen anyone being dismissed, even though we've had numerous processes and submitted numerous disciplinary cases for that specific purpose, requesting, or submitting, the fact that in a disciplinary hearing somebody was found guilty and it was a dismissible offence," says Vehbi.

Vehbi has also been unable to fill the support staff posts. "If we place an advert and there are interviews, then for some reason the interviews are challenged by the unions. It just always seems to be something and we never get an adequate number of staff," he says.

Most of the 1,6million people living in the Port Elizabeth metropole don't have access to medical aid, and Dora Nginza is the only hospital with specialised maternity and infant care.

It is hoped that a new midwife obstetric unit that will handle normal, uncomplicated births, like the clinics around town, will soon open at Dora Nginza.

And Vehbi says he would not stay in his job if he didn't think there was some light at the end of the tunnel. -Health e-News

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