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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

‘Hospitals of horror’ report proof ‘NHI is doomed to fail’ – FF+

A stillborn baby thrown into a bin in front of its parents feature in a FF+ report on neglect and abuse at public healthcare institutions.

A 532-page report containing “countless tales of inhumane treatment and negligence” at public healthcare institutions, was released by the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) on Wednesday.

The Horrors of State and Provincial Hospitals in South Africa report paints a grim picture of alleged human rights abuses, an utter decline in service delivery and infrastructure, “as well as staff incompetence and an indifferent attitude towards the plight and suffering of patients”.

FF+ submits ‘Hospitals of horror’ report to SAHRC

This according to FF+ health spokesperson and MP, Philip van Staden, who said the document had been submitted to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) for further investigation, as the office of the health ombudsman is understaffed and overwhelmed with complaints.

“It paints a disturbing picture of human rights abuses, utter decline in service delivery and infrastructure, as well as staff incompetence and [an] indifferent attitude towards the plight and suffering of patients,” said FF+ health spokesperson Philip van Staden.

“The government is unable to provide adequate healthcare. It must be held accountable for every single human rights violation,” he said.

The party embarked on a countrywide campaign from July 2022 and August 2023 and received complaints from patients at about 93 public hospitals and three private hospitals.

Almost a quarter (23) of the complaints were about public hospitals in Gauteng.

ALSO READ: Woman says she was given wrong baby at Durban hospital after newborn died

Graphic details and photos of ‘inhumane treatment’

“The report contains countless tales of inhumane treatment and negligence, which resulted in the deaths of many people,” Van Staden said.

“Graphic details and photos are also contained in the report”.

“One such example [accompanied by photos] is an incident that transpired at the National District Hospital in Bloemfontein where a pregnant woman in labour’s cries for help were reportedly simply ignored.

“The baby was stillborn after which it was placed in a medical waste bag and thrown into a waste bin before the very eyes of its shocked parents,” Van Staden revealed.

ALSO READ: Newborns in cardboard boxes: North West Health MEC blames nurses

Report also proof NHI will destroy healthcare for all South Africans

According to Van Staden, the report “simultaneously serves as irrefutable proof that the proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) is doomed to fail”.

“Government is not even able to manage the current system properly,” he said.

“The NHI has no realistic chance of success and will ultimately totally destroy healthcare for all South Africans.”

ALSO READ: SCA baby neglect ruling urges health minister to address negligence at hospitals

NHI will not solve critical shortages – FF+

The complaints submitted by patients indicated the public healthcare system faces a critical shortage of ambulances, medicines, equipment and personnel, and is corrupt and poorly managed, said Van Staden.

The government’s NHI plans will not solve the problems at these facilities, and the FF+ has launched a petition against the plan, he said.

NHI is the government’s policy for achieving universal health coverage free at the point of delivery for all South African citizens.

The first piece of enabling legislation, the NHI Bill, is before the National Council of Provinces, which is expected to pass it next week.

ALSO READ: NHI ‘not the solution for access to meaningful healthcare services’

Health Department to ‘study report’

Health Department spokesperson Foster Mohale said the department will study the report, and investigate whether further details are required on certain findings.

“The department would like to remind members of the public of various channels available in health facilities to raise their concerns as and when they experience service-delivery challenges,” Mohale told BusinessDay.

“These include suggestion boxes, which are managed by the relevant authorities to ensure issues are attended to. People can also lodge their complaints directly with facility managers or quality assurance managers.”

NOW READ: Increasing taxes to fund NHI will ‘destroy economy’ – expert

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