All Gauteng health facilities inspected by the Department of Labour for bio-hazard and other safety issues in the last three years have failed to meet the required standard.
This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
According to Ramokgopa, the Department of Labour has conducted various audits, inspections and investigations covering hazardous biological agents, construction compliance, noise measurements and occupational hazards.
She says: “All the audited facilities received either a non-compliance finding, such as a contravention and/or improvement compliance notice”.
The following health facilities were inspected and found to be non-compliant on various measures:
Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital
Helen Joseph Hospital
George Mukhari Hospital
Pretoria West Hospital
Hillbrow Community Health Centre
Odi, Temba and Cullinan Emergency Management Services (EMS)
Ramokgopa attributes the failures to “old poor buildings, infrastructure and equipment” and also “ever-increasing patients load, re-emerging of infectious diseases, burden of HIV and TB and general overload in our facilities.”
I am appalled that not a single hospital in Gauteng was compliant in the critical area of worker and patient safety.
The hospitals that have not been inspected are also probably non-compliant in large measure.
It is very worrying because hazardous biological agents are infectious and toxic. They cause allergic reactions such as hypersensitivity pneumonitis‚ allergic rhinitis‚ some types of asthma and organic dust toxic syndrome.
Non-compliance with safety standards increases the risk of health workers and patients becoming infected.
The huge maintenance backlog leads to contraventions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act that increases risks such as the recent roof collapse at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital.
I hope that the inspections are a wake-up call to the department to drastically improve safety conditions in our hospitals and clinics.
The goal must be strict compliance with all safety standards.
Jack Bloom MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC
082 333 4222
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