07 February 2014

Workers warned for neglecting generators at Gauteng hospitals

The Gauteng department of health has given warning letters to two employees over power outages at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto.


The Gauteng department of health has given warning letters to two employees over power outages at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto.

"Yes, I can confirm that disciplinary action has been taken against two employees in connection with the outage that happened at Baragwanath," spokesman Simon Zwane told Sapa on Friday.

Read: medical equipment awaits repairs at Baragwanath hospital

"In the wards, there are emergency lights that are used during operations. What we were concerned about is why the generator did not kick in and we found these two people could have acted quickly to do their work more appropriately so that the situation could have been avoided."

The letters were handed to them on Thursday.

The Star reported that generators failed to kick in last month because they had no diesel, and two of 12 generators had technical problems.

It reported that elective operations at the hospital had to be rescheduled.

Zwane could not confirm this, but said the problems at the hospital had since been sorted out.

"There have been no problems for the last week," he said.

Read: 12 scary hospital statistics

In a statement, Gauteng health MEC Hope Papo said he had, at the time of the outages, warned that steps would be taken if there was dereliction of duty on the part of any employee.

Papo apologised to patients, their relatives and hospital staff for the inconvenience caused during the power outages. Zwane said the hospital and the department of infrastructure development was implementing various preventative measures to avoid the recurrence of problems associated with two of the generators.

"We also have to work closely with City Power and the police to firmly deal with the heartless theft of electricity cables... which disrupts the supply of electricity to health and other community facilities, with possible dire consequences."

The Mail and Guardian reported that doctors had to operate using the lights from their cellphones and iPads. 

Did you know?

Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital is one of the largest hospital in the world, occupying around 173 acres (0.70 km2), with approximately 3 200 beds and about 6 760 staff members.

The hospital is in the Soweto area of Johannesburg, South Africa. (Soweto was a separate municipality from 1983 to 2002, when it was amalgamated to the City of Johannesburg.)

It is one of the 40 Gauteng provincial hospitals, and is financed and run by the Gauteng Provincial Health Authorities.

Read more:

Gauteng hospitals face billions in legal claims

Doctors are concerned over hospital staff shortages

A pioneering operation is performed at the Christiaan Barnard Memorial hospital 

Image credit: Baragwanath hospital entrance by Hugh Barrows.



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