Public protector calls for solutions to improve Tembisa Hospital

Public protector calls for solutions to improve Tembisa HospitalPublic Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina. Photo: Marcia Zali / Health-e.

Because of the financial challenges facing the provincial government, it is unable to adequately deal with problems in Tembisa Hospital.

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Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane says that solutions are needed to ease the pressure on the overstretched Tembisa Hospital in Ekurhuleni. 

Mkhwebane visited the hospital as part of her office’s consultative roadshow which travels across the country to engage with communities about issues her office could address.

Engagement needed 

“Tembisa Hospital is overstretched because it services residents from Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, the city of Joburg, and it apparently has patients from Diepsloot and Alexandra,” she says.  

“I think we need to come up with a solution together with the municipality to determine how they can make sure that more 24-hour clinics are established.”

Her office, Mkhwebane says, will officially engage the municipality on a report by the Auditor General (AG) which stripped them of their powers of running and constructing of new clinics.

“We will have to officially engage the municipality so they can give us the AG’s report which stopped them from dealing with clinics or building new clinics; because it is the mandate of the province; so that we can bring together the province, AG and us to see how we can resolve this matter because it affects community members.”

Shifting mandate 

“Before we came into office, it was possible for the municipality to build clinics,” explains Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina.

“Just in my term alone, we built more than eight clinics but the AG announced that the building of clinics is now the mandate of the province. We bought [approximately] 80 ambulances and the AG said we can’t buy ambulances because it is the mandate of the province.”

Masina says the provincial government’s financial challenges would make it difficult to have more clinics built.

“We have a problem because the provincial government is bankrupt and the AG says that they must repay the money that the municipality used to build the new clinics and new ambulances.”

Restoration 

The mayor says that discussions are underway to revive the old Kempton Park Hospital which shut down in the ’90s.

“Tembisa Hospital is the only operational hospital in the north, yet it services almost everyone while we have a hospital in Kempton Park that was shut down in the early ’90s. We’ve been discussing it and we should find a way and resources to have this hospital re-opened so that all our people can be serviced.”

Tembisa Hospital has previously made headlines following social media posts by staff members who were concerned about overcrowding in the hospital’s maternity ward where pregnant women slept on benches as a result.

The Human Rights Commission visited the hospital where it discovered that complaints raised by patients were beyond the hospital’s abilities to resolve. – Health-e News