Task team to turnaround Soweto hospital
A task team has been sent to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, charged with implementing a turnaround strategy, following news reports of newborn babies at the Soweto hospital placed in cardboard boxes because of a shortage of cribs.
A task team has been sent to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, charged with a implementing a turnaround strategy, following news reports of newborn babies at the Soweto hospital placed in cardboard boxes because of a shortage of cribs.
A task team made up of officials from the national and Gauteng health departments visited the hospital this week to investigate the conditions at the Maternity and Neo-Natal Section of the hospital.
Health department spokesperson Sibani Mngadi confirmed that the investigation was initiated following a media report alleging a shortage of baby cribs (bassinettes) at the hospital by The Star newspaper which also published a picture of three babies that were placed in a cardboard box instead of cribs.
‘At the meeting with the task team, the hospital management conceded that placing babies in a box instead of a bassinette is wrong. The management indicated that they were not aware that a cardboard box had been used to accommodate babies and that this should not have happened,’ Mngadi said in a statement.
Mngadi said the Department of Health would ensure that the procurement of cribs was accelerated and they were delivered to the Maternity Section as matter of urgency. Currently there are 119 cribs in the neonatal section while, at least 150 are required. At the cost of R2 000 per bassinette, the new cribs would be less than R70 000.
Mngadi said the task team found management had failed to determine priorities, allocate the budget and manage and control available resources.
‘The management of the hospital has failed to prioritise the core-functions of the hospital in the allocation of about R1,1-billion annual budget allocated to the hospital.
‘For instance, the team established that the hospital was spending more than R9,4-million on telephone accounts per year while only R7-million was allocated for procurement of all medical equipment including bassinettes, cot-beds, infusion pumps and blood pressure machines,’ Mngadi said.
He said the health department had decided that the hospital budget be immediately reviewed, ensuring that it focuses on improving service delivery.
Mngadi said a multi-disciplinary team would be sent from the Gauteng health department to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital to put in place a turnaround strategy for the hospital to ensure better management, better utilisation of human and financial resources and the more effective procurement of much-needed equipment
The expert team would also seek measures to reduce long delays in the procurement system and address challenges relating to maintenance of the hospital. At least R150 000 has been allocated for repair and improvement of taps and for installation of appropriate soap dispensers to ensure compliance with infection control policy requirements.
Mngadi claimed that statistics provided by the Clinical Heads for the Maternal and Neonatal units confirmed ‘fairly good’ clinical outcomes and quality of care provided by the two units. ‘ Health-e News Service.