Patients complain about ‘standing like sheep’ at Uitenhage hospital clinic
Staff at the biggest local hospital in the area were limiting the number of people inside the facility in order to maintain social distancing.
Dozens of patients were served through a palisade fence outside the Laetitia Bam Day Hospital in KwaNobuhle, Uitenhage, on Thursday 2 April.
However, patients became rowdy, voicing their unhappiness when staff began shouting out names and asking them to queue according to their illnesses.
Forced to speak to nurses through fence
Elderly people, children, pregnant women, and people collecting HIV and TB medication were among those forced to speak to nurses who were wearing masks through the fence.
One of the five nurses serving people outside was seen calling out patients’ names and then going to collect their medication inside.
Another staff member squeezed through the crowd and put a box of condoms on the ground, saying: “Those who won’t be allowed to do birth control during lockdown must please use condoms. Here they are…We will do birth control again from 16 April.”
‘Today we stood like farm sheep’
Thobeka Ntsotho said nurses had promised them that a tent would be put in the clinic yard with chairs but this never happened.
“We used to queue inside and sit in chairs, but today we stood like farm sheep,” she said.
National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) regional secretary Busiswa Stokwe said:
“People are being told to practice social distancing, yet in this government institution, they [management] don’t care if it happens or not. The way our people are being treated there is inhumane.
“There is no patient confidentiality because people have to publicly disclose why they came to the clinic. We are going to meet the district management and ask about their plan for the institution.”
Sanitisers for crowd
Ward 44 councillor Nomsa Booi, from the African National Congress (ANC), said: “We have been inundated with calls about the situation, but we will go there [on Friday] with sanitisers for the crowd.”
Eastern Cape Health Department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said: “Due to the coronavirus, health facilities have to comply with social distancing, but the picture [sent to him by GroundUp] doesn’t portray that.”
— By Thamsanqa Mbovane. Published originally on GroundUp .
© 2020 GroundUp.
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