Updated 19 November 2015

Change is coming for patients at Gauteng hospitals

The horror stories that patients share of their experience at public hospitals in Gauteng is not going unnoticed. Change is coming...

The horror stories from patients in Gauteng are endless - from unnecessary deaths, botched surgeries, a shortage of beds, overflowing wards, stockouts of critical drugs to a lack of clean linen and rude nurses.

Now the Gauteng Department of Health is working hard to improve the breakdowns within the health system and they are starting with nurses, following the high number of complaints against them.  

Read: Welcome to Edenvale Hospital where patients are sleeping on the floor

It announced on Wednesday that is has appointed an industrial psychologist to assist nurses improve how they interact with patients. The psychologist started at Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital and will then visit Tembisa Hospital and Mamelodi Hospital.  

Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu said this is just one of the interventions in a bid to improve patient care and enhance customer service at all provincial hospitals.

The psychologist will assist nurses on how to manage challenging patients, diversity, cultural differences, language, how to focus better professionally, identify system challenges and team work between departments.

This will be augmented by improving the employee wellness programme and counselling for nurses to help them debrief.

Mahlangu also announced that more specialist nurses will be appointed.

Read: Surgeon walks out on patient, not once but twice

She said to help alleviate the workload from professional nurses, nursing interns will work as ward clerks. This will allow professional nurses to focus on clinical work.

The department also plans to have patient satisfaction surveys conducted on a quarterly basis, instead of conducting it annually.

The survey will focus on the priority areas, namely cleanliness, staff attitude, availability of medicine supplies and food, the explanation of medical conditions and availability of nurses and doctors at all times.

“We trust this paradigm shift will be felt in how our nurses render services and it will be easy to pick up which areas and hospitals need intervention from the patient’s survey," said Mahlangu.

"Staff attitude is a work in progress, we therefore plead for cooperation from the public,” she said.

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