Senior management at Livingstone have described the staffing at Livingstone Hospital as a “leaking bucket” with nurses and administrative staff leaving in numbers.
Reasons for the mass exodus are simple: Healthcare personnel at the hospital are physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted, and are fearful of losing their lives to the Covid-19 virus.
The virus is seemingly more aggressive, with slightly higher mortality rates the second time around and hospital workers are vulnerable. The extra shifts, the staff shortages brought about by colleagues who fall victim to the virus and in some cases the passing of these colleagues, have taken their toll.
The 10pm curfew put in place by President Cyril Ramaphosa last night, will contribute to the reduction of trauma cases which have increased consistently as lockdown restrictions have eased. This will allow hospitals to allocate more personnel and resources to the Covid-19 response.
However, hospitals can only do so much. If they do not have the required number of staff to manage the disease effectively, quality of care will be affected.
I have written to the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, to request that he put pressure on the Provincial Health Department to finalise their organogram as a matter of extreme urgency, and ensure that all vacant funded posts in our hospitals are filled forthwith.
We appeal to all citizens of the Eastern Cape Province to do their part by staying apart, wearing a mask and sanitising regularly. Behavioural change is still the surest way of beating the virus and relieving the pressure on our hospitals. Let us do this out of respect for the frontline workers who put their lives on the line every day to save ours.