Investigation of allegations directed at Helderberg Hospital
Western Cape Government Health is aware of the issues raised by Mr John Michels and the community of Helderberg and its surrounding areas pertaining to the health care services received from Helderberg Hospital, as well as a planned protest march.
Helderberg Hospital Management tried several times to engage with Mr Michels in order to address his allegations and concerns, but he refused. A meeting between Mr Michels and Helderberg Hospital Management and the Hospital Board was scheduled for 4 October 2018 to discuss his concerns in a first step towards finding solutions. Unfortunately, Mr Michels did not honour the engagement.
“The allegations that I’m ignoring Mr Michels are untrue. Every single communication from Mr Michels has been noted by me and I’ve asked Helderberg Hospital to handle it through the official complaints management process,” says Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, Western Cape Minister of Health.
Western Cape Government Health and Helderberg Hospital Management would like to address Mr Michels’ allegation that a patient was left to die outside the facility. On Minister Mbombo’s instruction, the matter was investigated.
On 21 September 2018, at 04:25, Mr Michels informed the security guard at the Emergency Centre (EC) entrance of a lady requiring medical attention outside the facility. Ambulance staff immediately took the patient to the EC. Unfortunately, she could not be resuscitated and was declared deceased. The Western Cape Department of Health wishes to express our sincere condolences to her loved ones for their loss.
Helderberg Hospital is actively working towards improving the facility and continuously strive to improve its service delivery to the communities of Helderberg and its surrounding areas. At present, Helderberg Hospital is experiencing service pressure, especially over weekends and public holidays. The 181-bed facility is currently running at a 105% to 109% bed occupancy rate. An average of 1 750 patients are admitted per month and the Emergency Centre treats on average 3 530 patients per month.
To address this, a number of developments are underway to improve service delivery and upgrade the facility. Currently the Emergency Centre is being upgraded and it is envisaged that the project will be completed towards the end of 2019. Other improvement projects include the upgrade of the Radiography Department, an improved filing system, upgrade of the waste area, boom gates at the hospital entrance, 90 additional parking bays, ward upgrades, and various maintenance projects including painting and tiling.
Western Cape Government Health and Helderberg Hospital is committed to engaging with the community on suggestions for improvement of services. All complaints received through our formal complaint platforms are regarded as serious and are recorded and investigated. We request patients to follow the correct complaints procedure to enable us to investigate and take action. We encourage patients to make us aware of unsatisfactory service or incidents so that we can investigate and improve our services. A formal complaint should always be lodged at the facility where the patient experienced a problem and should be addressed to the facility manager or the CEO.