FOLLOWING the disruption of normal operations at several hospitals last week, KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Ms Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu today paid a surprise visit to Edendale Hospital to inspect Personal Protective Equipment supplies - and vowed to follow this up with more similar visits at other facilities.
During the visit, the MEC was pleased with the sufficient PPE stock levels. She made an important call: co-operation and communication between organised labour and management of health facilities needs to improve.
The MEC paid tribute to all healthcare workers involved in the fight against COVID – 19 across the province, and pointed out that it was important to ensure that these valued foot soldiers have all their essential tools, at hospital and ward level, in order to save lives.
“We are aware of protests in our different facilities. We were told that the majority of the protests related to a reported lack of PPE. I then decided that I must visit those facilities... and satisfy myself about what the issues are.
“However, what we've realised is that there seems to be a disjuncture between the organised labour and the management in that they are not communicating properly.”
It also emerged during the MEC’s visit that one of the challenges at Edendale is that they do not have an occupational safety committee.
She urged management to change this with immediate effect, adding that such structures are vital in strengthening governance and oversight.
“We've agreed that the committee will be established before the end of this week, and from next week it will operate properly. Two representatives from organised labour are going to be part of it.
“It is very important that management within the Department, including in our facilities, works together with organised labour because they are our partners, and it does not help anyone to work in silos and to fight each other. What's important is that we work together to fight this particular virus.”
Issued by the KZN Department of Health