This is the Johannesburg hospital where staff reliably pitch for work

Low staff attendance rates at hospitals put a lot of strain on the staff who remain, depressing their morale and the quality of patient care, says Jack Bloom, who monitors government healthcare as a member of the provincial legislature for the Democratic Alliance in Gauteng. File image
Low staff attendance rates at hospitals put a lot of strain on the staff who remain, depressing their morale and the quality of patient care, says Jack Bloom, who monitors government healthcare as a member of the provincial legislature for the Democratic Alliance in Gauteng. File image
Image: 123RF/Yuriy Klochan

Six of the seven largest public hospitals in Gauteng do not meet the health department's “acceptable” staff attendance rate of 90%.

The exception is Helen Joseph Hospital near Westdene/Auckland Park in Johannesburg, which has the highest staff attendance at 93%.

The Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital has the lowest staff attendance, with only 72% recorded last year.

This is revealed by Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku in a written reply to questions to Jack Bloom of the DA in the Gauteng Legislature.

After Helen Joseph Hospital, the next best staff attendance rates were at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg and Tembisa hospitals with an 89% attendance rate.

Other hospitals had the following attendance rates last year: Kalafong Hospital — 87%; Steve Biko Hospital — 86%; and George Mukhari Hospital — 83%.

According to Masuku, the low attendance rate is mainly due to “staff who take or are on sick leave including those who are on the PlLlR process and family responsibility leave”. Bloom states PILIR is the policy and procedure on incapacity leave and ill-health retirement to assist departments in managing incapacity leave and ill-health retirement.

The veteran government health observer notes “Masuku is cautious about which category of staff has the lowest attendance, but according to unconfirmed data for the last two years it appears that nurses have the lowest attendance rate”.

Explaining the impact of the staff attendance, Bloom said: “Low attendance rates put a lot of strain on the staff who remain, depressing their morale and the quality of patient care.”

He added: “There is a particular problem at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital where staff attendance is shockingly low, which is probably due to poor management and low staff morale.

“Our hospitals are highly stressed environments, so staff need to be managed properly to assist them in their jobs but also disciplined when they are absent without good reason or abuse sick leave.”

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