The Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union has accused the government of Gauteng of poor planning in light of several overcrowding incidences highlighted on social media this week.
The union has expressed outrage after images of pregnant women sleeping on benches at Tembisa Hospital on the East Rand went viral on Facebook and Twitter.
Union president Lerato Maduma-Gova said it received confirmation that just two midwives had to care for 96 pregnant mothers during the day shift, while three took care of 97 patients in the evening.
“We actually even confirmed with the sister in charge and we have even seen the list of these patients,” Maduma-Gova said. “Some have told us that this situation was very scary for them.”
Despite the hospital disputing these facts, Maduma-Gova insisted this was the reality.
According to Tembisa Hospital, the ward had 80 pregnant patients, not 96 as alleged.
“The hospital serves a population size of 1.2 million and delivers more than 1,400 babies a month,” said spokesperson Nothando Mdluli. “This means the hospital delivers the second-highest number of babies in the country.”
Maduma-Gova said the neonatal ward which, despite having the capacity for 40 babies, was overcrowded by over 80%.
“This is from the direct overflow of patients from Thelle Mogoerane Regional Hospital [in Vosloorus] because of the downgrading that happened after the Klebsiella outbreak last year at that hospital,” she said.
Maduma-Gova said government was using a archaic human resource management system which, she felt, had not been changed significantly since the dawn of democracy.
Meanwhile, a visit by Democratic Alliance’s member of the provincial legislature Jack Bloom to Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria showed overcrowding was also a big concern.
Bloom and another party member, Alan Fuchs, visited the hospital at 4am on Thursday to find “patients started queuing at that time, to ensure they were seen by a doctor that day”.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story erroneously named Gwen Ramokgopa as Gauteng Health MEC. She no longer holds this position. Disputes surrounding the situation at Tembisa Hospital should have been attributed to the hospital, not to the former or current MEC. 9:37, June 22.