A heartbreaking revelation by a patient at Frere Hospital has revealed how patients have been told they may only relieve themselves three times a day, after meals, and that if they need to urinate at any other time of the day, they may not receive assistance.
In a plea on social media last week, Sinethemba Joya, 29, who has been hospitalised after a taxi accident, posted how she had to use her lunchbox to relieve herself because she had missed the 4am allocated toilet time.
Joya also posted that some elderly patients have wet their beds and are the punished by being left to lie in their urine the whole day.
This seemingly callous disregard for patients and their dignity is shocking.
The CEO of the hospital has responded to the post and explained that the management has had to set specific times for toilet visits so that nurses routinely check on patients who may require assistance. This is because of the very heavy workloads the nurses on duty are currently experiencing, due to staff shortages.
When staff shortages in our hospitals and clinics begin to impact on the dignity of the patients, the Department of Health needs to pay attention – and act swiftly to rectify the situation.
The frequent revelations in recent months of widespread shortages should have spurred the Department of Health into action to take steps that would see that vacancies are filled.
This has clearly not happened.
I shall be writing to the MEC for Health, Helen Sauls-August, to provide further clarity on the staff shortages at the Frere Hospital, and ask her to provide a clear plan of action to resolve these shortages as a matter of extreme urgency.
The Democratic Alliance believes that the nursing profession in the province as a whole needs to be restored to its former dignity, and that some need to be reminded that they are there to serve the people with compassion.
A DA government will implement a health system where patients receive compassionate care that ensures their dignity is never compromised.
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