The Free State has a new Health MEC – Mathabo Leeto, who is also provincial treasurer of the ANC in the province. She recently replaced Montseng Tsiu. Refilwe Mochoari spoke to Leeto about her plans for the department and asked opposition parties and nursing unions about this move and their expectations for health services in the Free State.
Following a Labour Appeal Court judgement on Monday, health minister Dr Joe Phaahla during a media briefing on Monday night said the department has given essential health workers until Tuesday morning to report for work. Should they fail to do this, “they will be making themselves liable to charges of misconduct”. Spotlight reporters have been visiting healthcare facilities to assess the situation.
In July this year temperatures in some parts of the Free State dropped as low as minus 8 degrees Celsius while in some hospitals patients were told to bring their own blankets or brace the cold without. Although the provincial health department denies any linen and blanket shortages, Refilwe Mochoari found patients who say otherwise.
Surgical waiting lists are not unexpected in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are indications that the situation is particularly acute in the Free State, and possibly for reasons that are not directly related to the pandemic. Also, the department of health failed to offer any explanation or details of current surgery waiting lists and waiting times reported by healthcare workers and patients. Refilwe Mochoari reports.
Amid several reports of assault on healthcare workers and robberies at health facilities in the Free State, many healthcare workers are fearing for their safety. Refilwe Mochoari visited some of these ‘hotspots’ to see what security measures are in place and spoke to healthcare workers and health authorities about their security and safety concerns.
By 16 June, the National Department of Health’s statistics showed the Free State has recorded 108 515 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 4 612 deaths with 94 761 recoveries. Now, with the province caught in a third wave, healthcare workers say they still stuck with old problems from the previous two waves.