Tue. Dec 10th, 2019

New Health MEC promises to reduce waiting time in Gauteng hospitals

Hospital surgeries surgery africaThe Health MEC says he empathises with patients who wait for hours to be attended to in public hospitals and clinics.

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Bandile Masuku, the new Health MEC, vowed to have the waiting time reduced in Gauteng hospitals and clinics

As reported by SABC News, the newly-appointed MEC made these utterances at the swearing-in ceremony of Gauteng’s 10-member Executive Council in Parktown, Johannesburg, on Thursday.

Masuku highlights administrative problems with Gauteng hospitals

The public healthcare system in Gauteng has, for a long time, been criticised for its lacklustre approach in processing patients.

The problem is not unique to the province, however. We all know of someone who has waited for hours to receive medical assistance in public hospitals and clinics.

Related: DA outraged by abandoned beds at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital

Masuku noted that being a product of the public healthcare system, he empathised with the plight of patients. He swore that slashing the waiting time by a considerable amount is high up on his list of priorities.

“Waiting time, waiting time to get the medicine, waiting time for surgery, maybe in terms of surgery and other things… that’s the first priority that I’m going to do. And I know for a fact that the staff morals in our all our facilities and the department, in general, is very low.

“So it’s one thing that we’re going to focus on, and dealing with staff morale is an issue that relates to shortage itself. Issues of remuneration and all those things. So staff morale and patient experience are the key things that we’re going to focus on.” he said.

Mamelodi Hospital staff on the firing line

Masuku has another big issue he will have to deal with as soon as possible. The provincial health department has been called to take action against the Mamelodi Hospital staff after a video showing an elderly patient tied to the bottom of a bench went viral.

The family of Martha Marais was left stunned when they found the 76-year-old lying on the hospital floor with hands restrained against the bench.

Related: Mamelodi: Elderly woman “chained” under hospital bench by staff

According to the health department’s Mothomone Pitsi, an investigation has been launched into the matter and action will be taken as early as Friday morning.

“If anybody has acted inappropriately, action will be taken against them. The decision will be made after viewing the incident statements that we have been collecting overnight,” he confirmed.

In response to this, Masuku was wary about taking sides before the full scale of the investigation was concluded. He noted that there is a protocol that is exercised agaisnt aggressive or disobedient patients. However, he confirmed that tying up patients to benches was not one of them.

“There are ways which we can calm them down using different methods. We also do have a protocol that talks about restraining but not in that manner and it should be within protecting the dignity of the patient,” he said.

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