Pietermaritzburg hospital staff protest lack of PPE



Northdale Hospital staff protested on Tuesday within the hospital premises in Pietermaritzburg .

They staff carried placards and sang. They were demanding safer working conditions including more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE’s). This is the second protest this week.

A nurse who pleaded anonymous said the hospital was not safe for both staff and patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Patients who have tested positive are put in the same ward with patients who have other illnesses. We have raised that with the management but they have failed to listen and correct that. COVID-19 positive patients use the same bathrooms. They are not separated from other patients,” said the nurse.

She claimed that patients did not have enough food to eat and they could not receive food from their family members.

Another nurse said that new wards were opened for covid-19 patients but staff were not trained on how to handle infections.

“Communication is very poor. There is a shortage of staff and PPE. We have to keep wearing the same gowns which is not safe. Sometimes a positive patient asks for help and I can’t go and help because I’m not wearing PPE,” said the nurse.

Deputy secretary for National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) in the Harry Gwala Region Sihle Makhaye said workers were at risk and management was not attending to them. They were “avoiding meetings”.

“Workers are getting infected but the number of workers who have tested positive is not disclosed. Workers are forced to work while they are waiting for the results.”

Spokesperson for the Department of Health Ntokozo Maphisa denied the claim that food was not enough.

But on other issues, he said “the Department will not be responding to labour issues that are currently being resolved.”

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