NEWS & ANALYSIS

All Gauteng state hospitals and clinics fail safety audit – Jack Bloom

DA MPL says the most non-compliant, Bheki Mlangeni Hospital, was built only 5 years ago

All Gauteng state hospitals and clinics fail safety audit

29 August 2019

Not a single state health facility in Gauteng has been assessed as complying with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

This bombshell information is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to Masuku “all facilities audited received either a noncompliance finding, such as a contravention and/or improvement compliance notice and fire contravention.”

The following facilities were the most non-compliant:

Bheki Mlangeni Hospital

Far East Rand Hospital

Tembisa Hospital

Kopanong

Mamelodi

George Mukhari

Ekurhuleni district clinics

Johannesburg district clinics

Bheki Mlangeni was built only five years ago, but faces a host of serious safety risks that include the following:

psychiatric patients escaping through fire escape doors who are a risk to themselves and others

chained exit doors risk to patients and employees in case of fire or emergency

roof leaks on rainy days

air-conditioning extremely hot in summer and extremely cold in winter due to design problem, also leads to cancellation of operations

accident and emergency overcrowded leading to cross infection

records section overflowing with patient files, fire escape doors blocked

existing fire alarm systems are not functioning properly

Other hospitals at high risk include the following:

- Tembisa Hospital - non-compliance in stores and main kitchen, and faulty pressure equipment.

- Far East Rand Hospital - not compliant due to unavailability of emergency exit routes and fire detection system in most parts of the hospital.

- Mamelodi Hospital - dysfunctional ventilation system in accident and emergency unit.

- Kopanong Hospital - employees at risk of being trapped inside the freezer, leaking roofs, peeling walls, plugs in wards not SABS compliant, redundant fire hydrants, storm water and sewer pipes frequently blocking.

These are alarmingly high safety risks and worse, we only know the risks in those facilities that have been audited, whereas most of them have not.

I am dismayed that occupational safety has been so neglected at Gauteng hospitals and clinics, endangering staff and patients.

We were lucky that no lives were lost when there was a fire at the Bheki Mlangeni Hospital earlier this year, but safety measures need to be stepped up at all hospitals.

It highlights once again how grossly unprepared the provincial health department is for the planned National Health Insurance (NHI) which requires properly accredited high quality health facilities.

Issued by Jack Bloom, DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC, 29 August 2019