Robert Sobukwe Hospital medical workers down tools

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Doctors and medical workers at the Robert Sobukwe Hospital in Kimberley in the Northern Cape have downed tools against the high number of staff vacancies at the hospital.

The medical staff says they are overworked and are demanding that the provincial health department fill vacancies for doctors, nurses and other medical staff.

Doctors, nurses, porters and other staff at the Robert Sobukwe Hospital say the provincial department of health’s tardiness in filling vacancies is putting their lives and the lives of their patients at risk. And with the second wave of the coronavirus, they are demanding that the department hire more staff.

Head of Surgery at the Hospital, Dr Ahmed Bhyat explains, “They are the backbone of this hospital and believe me, if there are no medical officers going to be employed at this hospital, we are also going to lose out on our accreditation for internship training, then we’ll have no service whatsoever. Remember, Robert Sobukwe hospital is the only hospital that serves the entire Northern Cape with tertiary services.”

Medical staff have warned that the current situation is not sustainable.

“We are overworked. Remember now we are going to the second surge of the pandemic. So without the appointment of these doctors, how are we going to cope? The population will be affected. We are overstressed and we are in burnout,” says a staff member.

“At the end of the day, those patients are suffering and we are seen as if we are not doing our job. When you have a shortage of staff, it’s very difficult to get around,” adds another.

The Northern Cape Health Department says a moratorium placed on hiring staff in the provincial public sector is a major stumbling block. However, the department says it will be meeting with workers to resolve their issues.


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