Health Department slammed for not considering patients’ rights

The waiting room of the new Evander Clinic.
The waiting room of the new Evander Clinic.

EVANDER – The Mpumalanga Department of Health was slammed by residents for not considering the rights of the patients.

This came after residents who wanted to go to the Evander Clinic, were turned back at the security gate on Wednesday, 4 January.

They contacted the clinic committee of which ANC and DA councillors are part of, to enquire why they were being turned back.

It was alleged the reason was because the clinic was going to close at 12pm because the clinic’s staff will be moving to a new building inside the Evander Hospital yard.

The clinic was temporarily using part of the maternity ward of Evander Hospital.

The new clinic is incomplete, with a small waiting room that can only accommodate 11 to 12 people and the rest will have to sit or stand outside.

The floor has already begun to crack and peel off.

Mr Ben Makola, councillor and clinic committee member, said they do not approve that the staff move to the new building until it is fully completed by the contractor.

He also said they sent an email to the management of the clinic in which they raised concerns over certain standards which the clinic must comply with, but they did not get any response.

“How can they expect people to stand or sit outside during hot or cold weather?” asked Mr Makola.

Ms Estelle Swart, councillor, said the problem of the clinic did not begin only now, but dates back to 2013 when it was still situated in Evander Town.

She said there were times when the clinic was locked by the owner of the building after the province failed to pay the rent.

Ms Swart added that when the province decided to move the clinic to the hospital, there were concerns from residents that it would be far from them and they will have to walk a long distance to get there.

She also concurred with Mr Makola that the rights of the patients should be respected.

The room that will be used to store medication, is allegedly not up to standard.

The ablution facilities are also not enough and should one become non functional, males and females will have to share one toilet.

The structure was allegedly signed off and handed over to the clinic management by the contractor last month, though it was incomplete.

There are also allegations that the first contractor who was awarded the tender to build the clinic, did not finish the project and disappeared with the money.

The second contractor is also alleged to be the same person who began the building and disappeared, but returned under a different name.

The building of the new structure apparently cost R3.5 million.

The clinic committee could not comment on the allegations of the contractor disappearing with the money.

The Mpumalanga Health Department responded on the allegations that staff members were forced to move to the new building and said: “No officials were forced to move to the new structure and the clinic has been completed and is well equipped.

“The project is still on a defect liability period of three months and the department infrastructure unit will assess the cracks and the contractor will attend to any defects identified as per the contractual obligations.

“The department respects and values the contributions made by clinic committees, hence a meeting will be held with the district management from 9 -13 January,” said Mr Dumisani Malamule, spokesman of the Mpumalanga Department of Health.

He further dismissed the allegations that the same contractor was given two projects after he applied for a tender under a different name.

Mr Malamule said the initial tender was awarded to Cedar Point Construction that defaulted according to the contract and their contract was terminated.

The Tender was later awarded to Kwikspace Building.

  AUTHOR
Levhuwani Matumba
Journalist

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