Union calls for action against East Rand hospital official

Patients in the overcrowded maternity ward at Tembisa Hospital.
Patients in the overcrowded maternity ward at Tembisa Hospital.
Image: Supplied

Unions have called for a senior manager at an East Rand hospital to be charged for allegedly trying to conceal the true extent of the facility's overcrowding problem.

This after a nurse took to social media to share her frustrations about an overcrowded maternity ward at the Tembisa Hospital, claiming that two midwives were left to care for 96 pregnant women during a shift last Wednesday.

However, the hospital's management dismissed the nurse's claims as false.

Sowetan has seen a copy of a letter written by Nehawu, accusing the facility's management of sugar-coating the situation.

The letter also states that there is documented proof that more than 90 women were in the ward, adding that the official who stated otherwise should be charged.

"Therefore, we ask for proper disciplinary measures to be taken against her for giving false information to the public and lastly, we request a public apology to the nurses in ward 13," it stated.

Nehawu branch representative at the facility, Mongalo Motsamai, said they had copies of reports from the ward proving that the numbers that were shared by the nurse were accurate.

Motsamai said they sent the letter to the hospital's labour relations office and were waiting to get a date for a meeting with management.

President for the Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union Lerato Madumo-Gova said they also wanted the senior official to be disciplined for making false claims.

"The patient count was 96 during the day and 97 during the night, according to records. If they can lie about something this small, what else are they lying about?" she asked.

Hospital CEO Dr Lekopane Mogaladi said he had not seen the letter from Nehawu but maintained that their version was correct.

"We are the custodian of records and our records show that there were 80 women,"
he said.

Mogaladi said the problem of overcrowding in that ward was an ongoing issue, saying that they deliver the second highest number of babies after Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital.

"We deliver 1,400 babies a months and 16,000 per annum," he said.

Mogaladi said they also made contingency plans to manage the situation.

He said they had decided not to take disciplinary action against the midwife, who breached their social media policy, by venting her frustrations of having to work in an overcrowded ward on Facebook.

"We have decided not to take action as the hospital. We understand that she was frustrated. She did a good thing by exposing some of the challenges that we have but she must understand that this is not the way things are done," Mogaladi said.

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