NEWS & ANALYSIS

Crowded maternity unit short of half staff needed – Jack Bloom

Mamelodi Hospital has only 5 midwives and 1 advanced midwife per shift

Crowded Mamelodi Hospital maternity unit short of half the staff needed

10 October 2019

The Mamelodi Hospital maternity unit has 5 midwives and 1 advanced midwife per shift, but requires 10 midwives and 2 advanced midwives to cope with very crowded conditions.

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

The recorded average bed occupancy rate this year is 96.5%, up from 86.2% last year. This means that there are many times when there are not enough beds and expectant mothers have to sit on chairs, as staff told us when I visited there recently with DA Shadow Health Minister Siviwe Gwarube MP.

I am disappointed that the promised expansion of this unit “was put on hold during February 2018 because of financial constraints”, but Masuku says that there is currently a tender process for this.

Masuku also says that “the institution submitted motivation for creation of critical post and has been recently approved - waiting for HR processes.”

This maternity unit was recently in the news following the reported death of a baby after falling to the floor head first when the mother was ignored by staff and gave birth in a standing position.

The unit is so busy that mothers who have given birth are told to leave after six hours.

There is an unfortunate history of broken promises regarding improvements at Mamelodi Hospital, so I hope that this time round sufficient staff are hired soon and building work is done to expand the maternity unit so that more beds can be added.

This is yet another example of failure in a public hospital that bodes ill for implementation of the Government’s National Health Insurance (NHI) plan.

Issued by Jack BloomDA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC, 10 October 2019