Patients force docs back to work

DOCTORS at Kgapane Hospital in Modjadjiskloof, Limpopo, were this week forced to abandon a meeting during working hours to attend to sickly patients.

A doctors' meeting on the hospital's premises had to be called off after angry patients, who had been waiting to be treated for a long time, forced the medicos to attend to them first.

The meeting was held to discuss grievances the doctors had submitted to their supervisors a while ago.

The meeting allegedly started at 2pm but three hours later it was still going on, hence the patients' action.

The irate patients, who had allegedly been waiting for hours for the doctors, allegedly stormed into the boardroom where the meeting was taking place and demanded that they be treated.

A source at the institution said the patients had complained of hunger since they had waited for a long time.

They then demanded that the meeting be called off so that they could be attended to before the doctors could consider addressing their issues.

A source who did not wish to be named said: "The patients were actually exercising their rights because they had gone to the hospital to get treatment.

"It was irresponsible of the doctors to ignore patients in order to attend a meeting."

He accused the doctors of failing to advance the Batho-Pele principle, which governs all public servants.

"We often hear of patients dying in health institutions because they had not been attended to. What would those doctors have said had a life been lost during their meeting?

"The department of health and social development must come down hard on doctors who behave like those at Kgapane Hospital," the source said.

A doctor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the meeting was about their complaints over the incompetence of the hospital's clinical manager.

They accused her of running her private practice during working hours in GaSekgopo village, thereby ignoring her official duties. She also allegedly treated the doctors shabbily when they took up the matter with her.

Spokesperson for the health department Selby Makgotho yesterday confirmed knowledge of the allegations and said they were still awaiting a report from the hospital's chief executive, Mantwa Mabangwa.

"We will first assess the report, and should the allegations be true, heads will roll."