Eastern Cape’s public hospitals fail at safety

There is not a single public hospital in the Eastern Cape that has been inspected for safety, that has been deemed safe for patients and health care workers.

This was revealed by the MEC for Health Helen Sauls-August in a written reply to a parliamentary question.

According to Sauls-August, none of the health facilities inspected by her department were found to be compliant to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, mainly because of structural building issues, poor ventilation, inadequate chemical storage and obstruction by redundant assets.

SEE: IQP 30 – Q390

Non-compliance with safety standards increases the risk of health workers and patients becoming infected or getting injured while at a clinic or hospital.

Hazardous biological agents are infectious and toxic, they could cause allergic reactions such as hypersensitivity pneumonitis‚ allergic rhinitis‚ some types of asthma and organic dust toxic syndrome.

It is important to note that, by the MEC’s own admission, only the larger hospitals, which have safety officers in their employ, have been inspected.

It is alarming to think that there are health centres across the province who do not even that have an appointed occupational health and safety officers to implement occupational health and safety measures in line with the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The Democratic Alliance has repeatedly been highlighting the unsafe conditions in the provincial hospitals and clinics, including the recent collapse of the roof at Port Alfred Clinic and the stabbing of a security guard at the Butterworth hospital.

The department must ensure that the people of this province have access to quality health healthcare that is safe and secure and does not put their lives in danger.

A people centred healthcare system forms part of the core commitments that a people centred DA government will deliver in 2019.