Tshwaragano hospital staff receive pamper party – Andrew Louw

DA NCape PL says all staff were invited to receive a 10-15 minute head, neck, back and shoulder massage

DA questions Tshwaragano pamper party

11 November 2019

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Northern Cape wants to know who fitted the bill for the recent pamper party hosted for overworked staff at the dilapidated Tshwaragano Hospital in Batlharos.

As far as the DA could determine, all staff at the facility were invited to receive a 10-15 minute head, neck, back and shoulder massage. The free massage apparently formed part of a stress management programme that was undertaken in October this year by the Maina Beauty Spa in Pretoria in conjunction with the Department of Health, as part of the employee assistance programme.

The DA is blown away by the Health Department’s misguided attempt to merely try and rub away the very serious grievances of staff.

Just last week, staff embarked on strike action at the facility because of the department’s failure to address the countless challenges that staff working at the facility face on a daily basis.

Not only are staff overworked, but old infrastructure, the extent of the lack of available ambulances, operational equipment as well as out-of-stocks of medical supplies and medication, have made conditions hazardous for patients and staff alike.

Earlier this week, the DA highlighted the crisis of the hospital’s operating theatre, which was forced to close its doors in August this year. This sees patients from the approximately 40-bed maternity ward being transported a distance of 20 kilometres to the Kuruman hospital for caesarean sections, and then transported back again, with their newborn babies, on a very bumpy road. When complications arise, this system proves deadly and has seen a rise in the maternal and infant mortality rate in the JTG region.

It is clear that the Health Department has its head in the clouds.

Surely money spent on massages would have served the staff much better if it had rather been utilised to procure critical equipment such as a resuscitation machine, or if it was used to fix the frequent laundry problems that see linen being transported all the way to Postmasburg for washing. The money could even have been used to put up a roof between the main hospital and the operating theatre, to prevent patients from raining wet when being transported from the one building to the other.

What the Health Department doesn’t release is that, unlike the department itself, the staff of Tshwaragano Hospital do in fact care about the lives of those whom they have been entrusted with. In fact, it is this massive responsibility for sustaining life that weighs heavily on these staff members and no deal of stress management can ever take away from this.

The DA will submit parliamentary questions to Health MEC, Mase Monapole, to determine who is responsible for procuring the massage services, who paid for the spa treatment and what the costs entailed.

This department could have all the money in the world but until it starts to spend money on what really matters, it will never attain access to quality universal health care for all.

Issued by Andrew Louw, DA Northern Cape Provincial Leader, 11 November 2019