HAPPIER TIME: Health MEC Dr Clifford Mkasi holds a baby girl he helped to deliver on Mandela Day.
Fuming nurses at the Matibidi district hospital near Graskop have accused the provincial department of health and MEC Dr Clifford Mkasi of undermining the nursing profession by making them mortuary atteants.
The nurses claim that, because of staff shortages, forced them to work overtime to perform extra duties as mortuary attendants.
They said on condition of anonimity that the hospital had about 100 beds but staff shortages forced the institution to use only 50 beds.
In addition, the hospital was failing to reach its target to service more than 20000 people in the area.“The shortage of health personnel certainly discourages us, especially mortuary attendants. We have to do extra tasks to look after corpses until they have been handed over to the next of kin. We feel that our profession is being undermined by the authorities,” said a nurse who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals.
The staff claimed the hospital has only four doctors, 17 nurses, eight staff nurses and 27 auxiliary nurses, who were divided into four 12-hour shifts, leaving one doctor, four nurses, two staff nurses and six auxiliary nurses per shift.
“We appeal to the provincial government to consider our plight by recruiting more personnel since the shortage was putting people’s lives at risk. It is even worse because the institution does not have surgeons so patients have to be referred to Sabie and Mapulaneng hospitals that are situated over 80 and 110km away.” The DA provincial
spokesperson for health, James Masango, said that the situation was endangering the lives of the people. His party would submit formal written parliamentary questions to MEC Dr Clifford Mkasi asking him to explain whether the department would be recruiting key personnel such as a matron and nurses.
“MEC Dr Clifford Mkasi’s refusal to act stands in stark contrast to his oath as a medical doctor to ease suffering and bring relief wherever he may go.
“He must put his money where his mouth is and start filling vacancies for essential health personnel,” said Masango.