The North West Department of Health MEC has released a report on the preliminary investigation into an incident where newborns were placed inside cardboard boxes at the Mahikeng Provincial Hospital (MPH).
The preliminary investigations have revealed allegations of serious acts of misconduct against hospital management which warrant a further probe into the matter.
“So far, the report has pointed out five members of management at the Mahikeng Provincial Hospital who are to be temporarily relocated to nearby facilities to allow for investigation processes to continue unhindered. I have also reviewed my decision about precautionary suspension of the two officials following the release of the report on the preliminary investigation of this incident. I have constantly said that the precautionary suspension was never punitive but to give space to ascertain as to whether their presence would not interfere with the investigation hence I reviewed my decision after the report revealed that they would not interfere with the investigation,’’ said MEC Sambatha.
According to MEC Sambatha, the preliminary investigation was part of a multi – phased approach adopted by the department to resolve the challenges experienced at the Mahikeng Provincial Hospital.
The department has channeled skills and resources to augment operational capacity at MPH for effective service delivery.
“The hospital has consistently been experiencing a very high bed utilization rate particularly in the neonatal, orthopaedic and seventy two (72) hour psychiatric units. We had to sit down as a department with the MPH management to come up with measures to alleviate the situation in order to optimize efficiencies at the facility”, MEC Sambatha said.
As part of the intervention, a space audit was conducted and the following measures to be implemented were identified:
The postnatal unit will be moved to gynecology to allow that space to be converted to a neonatal ward to accommodate a total of seventy nine 79 bed (incubators and cribs).
The clinical space will be increased with additional beds.
Increase the orthopedic beds from forty six (46) to sixty six with separate female wards.
An additional fifteen beds in the Bophelong Psychiatric Hospital will be utilized for female patients who are on seventy two (72) hour observation.
These plans will be actioned to support and strengthen the good work that is already being done by the hospital management and staff.
“It is commendable that Mahikeng Provincial Hospital has managed to appoint seventy seven (77) nurses between October 2022 and April this year. This is admirable as it addresses the issue of shortage of nurses. It should also be noted that some of the nurses absorbed by MPH are those who were on contract during the national state of disaster which was as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic”, MEC Sambatha highlighted.
Source: Government of South Africa