By Khuthala Nandipha
Frere hospital is not closed. The decision on whether to close the hospital or keep it open will be made in 31 days from Monday (today), clarified Eastern Cape MEC for Health, Sindiswa Gomba during a morning media conference in East London.
The Department of Employment and Labour have finalised their mandated inspection on Sunday, to check if the hospital meets the Covid 19 health requirements. This follows a meeting on Saturday with Eastern Cape Premier, Lubabalo Mabuyane and Minister of Labour, Thulas Nxesi.
According to Mabuyane, a report by the Department of Health states that the hospital has adequate equipment for all staffers to operate functionally. However, Labour inspector Apiwe Maxontana and health unions claim that the hospital is exposing health workers to grave danger by not having sufficient equipment.
The Eastern Cape health department has lodged an urgent court interdict to challenge the notice issued by labour department officials to shut down the hospital. Gomba added that the province has a control crisis of PPE equipment.
“In early May we compiled a portfolio of evidence that shows that Frere hospital has at least three storerooms full of PPE equipment. We even found PPEs in wards that do not treat Covid 19 patients, that’s how much stock there,” said Gomba.
On May 7, a storeroom full of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was uncovered at the Frere Hospital following a spate of protests by health employees over lack of equipment.
Unused PPE stock found at Frere:https://www.easterncaperisingsun.com/post/unused-ppe-stock-found-at-frere
During a visit, the Department of Health officials were stunned to discover that the hospital has sufficient equipment to tackle the deadly Covid 19.
This is after Frere Hospital workers downed tools in early May over a lack of PPE and accusations that the hospital hides positive cases of the coronavirus. Nurses claimed that hospital management keeps equipment in the storeroom while health workers deal with patients with inadequate safety gear.
“There will always be challenges when it comes to PPEs, either because of lack of training, management controls and misuse, but there are few facilities that can claim to have a PPE crisis in the province,” said Gomba.