North West Health on acts of intimidation and disruption of health services in hospitals

NW Health disturbed by acts of intimidation and disruption of health services in hospitals

The North West Department of Health is disturbed by acts of intimidation and disruptions that happened at two hospitals in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District. The two hospitals affected at this stage are Klerksdorp Tshepong Hospital Complex and Potchefstroom Hospital. In the past two weeks, the Department has witnessed unprecedented protests at the two health facilities. It is particularly at Klerksdorp Tshepong Hospital Complex where there unfortunate incidents of protesters forcefully removing nurses and doctors from the wards and preventing others including community members from accessing the facility.

On the 8th and 9th May the hospital witnessed escalated acts of intimidation and acts of forced removal of patients and health professionals from the hospital. This occurred after a few protesters were arrested after the hospital opened a case of intimidation with the local police station.

Though there were protests at Potchesftroom hospital, health services continued to be rendered with minimal interruptions. Patients are still being attended and admissions of new patients continues. This however continues under a very unpleasant environment where protests in the gates of the hospital are prevalent.

Klerksdorp Tshepong Hospital Complex is a referral hospital in the Province. Patients from regional hospitals are referred to Klerksdorp to receive tertiary health services. As a result of the ongoing protests, the hospital was forced to release patients back to regional hospitals for management at that level until the situation is normalised. Stable patients have been assessed by doctors and released. Only critical patients remains.

The hospitals is operating with skeletal staff as nurses and doctors fear coming to the hospital due to intimidation.

Negotiations to end the protests actions and return employees to work continues. Since the Department was put under Section 100 b (1), there is optimism of speedy resolution. The Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has already had a number of meetings with Nehawu in attempt to find a solution to the impulse. The Administrator will have a meeting with Provincial Office employees on Friday, 11 May as part of efforts to end the protest actions.

The Department continues to urge the protesters to respect the rights of other citizens. While the protests enjoy the right to strike and demonstrate through protests action, patients should also not be denied the right to access health care.

Source: Government of South Africa