Jeffreys Bay – Staff shortages, long queues, broken public ablution facilities and thin, old mattresses are some of the daily challenges facing patients and the public at the Livingstone Hospital in Port Elizabeth.
“On 29 August 2019, I was joined by DA Eastern Cape Provincial Leader, Nqaba Bhanga, MPL, and local DA Nelson Mandela Bay Councillors, Jonathan Lawack and Shirley Sauls, in conducting an oversight inspection at the Livingstone Hospital,” said Jane Cowley the DA EC Shadow MEC for Health.
It was during this oversight inspection that some shocking revelations were made.
Public ablution facilities in the hospital were in a dreadful state. The urinals in the men’s toilets were blocked and urine had spilt onto the floor. The toilet seat in the female toilets was broken.
In the women’s general orthopaedic ward, sheets were worn and full of holes and many of the mattresses were uncovered and very thin.
A recent incident in the hospital saw a dying man lying on a mattress so thin that his sister had to beg for another mattress for him to lie on.
Her request was met with disdain by a security guard who removed her from the ward. As a result, she was unable to be with her brother when he passed away.
Patients that the delegation interacted with were very grateful for the visit and willingly shared the challenges they face in the hospital, such as very long queues and long waiting periods before being attended to.
However, the compassion and care of the nurses, who work under difficult circumstances due to ongoing staff shortages, was noted and appreciated.
“It is no wonder that the Eastern Cape Department of Health is on the ropes and is now going as far as to try and deny members of the legislature their constitutional right to do oversight at state institutions.
After our presence at the hospital was reported to the MEC for Health, Sindiswa Gomba, she made several attempts to prevent the delegation from fulfilling their constitutional duty to conduct oversight in this organ of state.
However, the delegation was not deterred and continued with the oversight inspection despite being verbally threatened.
I will write to the MEC for Health to establish what budget has been allocated for items such as bedding, mattresses and linen, and whether these items have indeed been requisitioned during this financial year.
I will also request a breakdown of ongoing staff shortages and a report on steps being taken to rectify this unacceptable situation,” said Cowley.
In the DA-led Western Cape, efficient health care service delivery includes all aspects of health care, including consumables such as linen and bedding. This holistic approach to health care delivery has resulted in longer and healthier lives of the citizens in our care.