Statement By Dr Nomafrench Mbombo
Western Cape Health MEC condemns intimidation during Select Committee’s oversight visit to Khayelitsha Hospital
WESTERN CAPE MINISTRY OF HEALTH
I condemn, in the strongest terms, the irresponsible decision taken by the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive undertakings, to conduct an aggressive, unannounced, and unauthorised oversight visit at the Khayelitsha Hospital last week, 13 April 2018.
The Western Cape Government is an open and transparent government, therefore we welcome oversight visits at any of facilities to account to our service users and the community at large. What we do not agree with, is the manner in which the oversight visit to Khayelitsha Hospital was conducted.
This “Select Committee” happened to exclude all opposition party members from this visit, the mandate for this visit evidently was not clear, and was seen as a disruption in service.
We cannot play politics in Health, as we deal with people’s lives here. That is why we cannot allow political parties to use health for their own petty agendas.
The manner in which the visit was conducted, was experienced as traumatic - being confrontational, blaming staff personally and directly for perceived poor service delivery. This incident took place in front of patients and the public. Within a high pressure environment, like we experience in Khayelitsha, it is very difficult for clinical frontline staff to be directly exposed to this type of interrogation when they are on duty. It interfered with their duty at the time.
The Department recognises that the hospital is under pressure, similar to others in the Metro. Khayelitsha Hospital challenges are therefore very similar to other facilities where we experience very high emergency and trauma load, fuelled by violence, particularly over weekends.
The hospital is in the process of converting agency posts to permanent posts, commissioning 30 extra beds, and planning a Psychiatric Unit for observation and a CT scanner service for better diagnostic capability. This is all underway.
Khayelitsha Hospital currently enjoys exceptional clinical leadership and good values-linked management practices. Its clinical outcomes are comparable to good international standards.