South Africa: Limpopo Department of Health is forced to evacuate all inpatients admitted at Elim hospital with immediate effect to nearby facilities until further notice. This is a result of the closure of all access roads to the hospital due to a community protest leaving all healthcare workers and outpatients for the second day failing to access the hospital.
The situation has impacted negatively on the day-to-day running of the hospital and, most importantly, on patient care, leaving them at risk.
Today is the second day that the hospital has been mended by our medical interns without any supervision of medical officers because it is only our interns who reside within the hospital premises; the rest of the medical officers can’t access the hospital. Nursing services have been highly compromised wherein certain nurses, out of commitment, volunteered not to knock off to avoid leaving patients unattended.
The MEC visited the hospital this morning to assess the situation and support the staff. Unfortunately, she couldn’t access the hospital either; hence to avoid any regrets, the department was forced to work with the police to evacuate all the patients and temporarily close the hospital until such time the situation was stable.
“As the department, we respect the democratic rights of every citizen to protest whenever they are not satisfied. However, we plead that it must not be done at the expense of the right to life of others. Health is an essential service, and people who depend on Elim hospital have no other choice except Elim. The blockade of staff members, EMS and PTT services to access the hospital will not only deny those who are outside seeking healthcare, but those who are admitted and not being attended to can lose their lives. We are making a call to the organisers to allow the EMS personnel and healthcare workers to have unlimited access in every area, as their duty is to save lives.
Community members who have patients at Elim Hospital are urged to call the hospital CLO to check where their patients have been evacuated to”, said MEC Ramathuba.