'Tygerberg Hospital non-compliant to occupational health and safety'
The Western Cape remains the province with the highest number of SA's Covid-19 infections and deaths in the country.
Gerald Lotriet is the provincial chairperson of the Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of SA (Hospersa) which represents more than 60,000 private and public health-care sector workers.
He speaks to Refilwe Moloto about their concerns around staff safety at both Ceres and Tygerberg hospitals following Health Minister Zweli Mkhize's visit to the province this week.
Lotriet comments on the new provincial policy preventing those under the age of 55 from being tested in the public health system for Covid-19, unless they have specific comorbidities.
That is still a sore point at this specific stage.Gerald Lotriet, Provincial chairperson - Hospera
He says Hospera Western Cape is objecting to this specific policy noting the implications it can have towards not only its members but the community as well.
Our members are saying that there are already so many undiagnosed hypertensives, diabetics, TB, HIV and Aids, so if we are saying that the members of the public should not get tested if they have not been diagnosed with any comorbidities, that could have a massive effect.Gerald Lotriet, Provincial chairperson - Hospera
He says it could also impact the credibility of the Covid-19 statistics.
The stats would then not even be a true reflection.Gerald Lotriet, Provincial chairperson - Hospera
Hundreds of health care workers in the province have tested positive for Covid-19.
In Ceres, Hospera members at the hospital had a tools down on 16 May,
Members refused to enter the facility due to some occupational health and safety challenges after a staff member tested positive. The staff members indicated the place was not deep cleaned or fumigated.Gerald Lotriet, Provincial chairperson - Hospera
Since then he says during his visit to the hospital last Wednesday, the Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) team was sent in to comply and ensure the facility is safe.
Is this enough?
He says since the minister's visit on Tuesday, Hospera has received further complaints from members.
We have already received some concerns from our members. I cannot say anything further at this stage but we will have to go back and do a preliminary investigation.Gerald Lotriet, Provincial chairperson - Hospera
As of Tuesday, 296 Tygerberg Hospital staff had tested positive.
He says Hospera believes Tygerberg Hospital is non-compliant to occupational health and safety as well as infection prevention control regulations.
He says both Hospera, Fedusa, and the Department of Labour have raised concerns in this regard. A preliminary investigation was conducted at Tygerberg Hospital.
He says they have a meeting on Thursday with the Western Cape Health HOD Dr Keith Cloete.
The preliminary on-site investigation is still set for Friday he adds.
Lotriet says there is criticism that hospital workers want to shut down essential hospital facilities.
He clarifies that Hospersa as a union does not have the power to close down a hospital. That power lies with the Department of Labour.
The mandate I have received is to say we have to shut down the whole facility because of concerns raised, but looking at it from a logical perspective the possibility of how it would be done still needs to be discussed and negotiated.Gerald Lotriet, Provincial chairperson - Hospera
Listen to the interview below:
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