Hospersa expressed concern about the safety of health professionals at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town because it has become “a breeding ground” for the coronavirus.
This comes after the provincial health department said 296 staff members of the hospital, working at the facility treating Covid-19 cases, have so far been tested positive for the virus. While 144 have already recovered, four staff members have died.
Hospersa conducted a preliminary inspection of the hospital this week and is concerned because so many staff have the virus and also about the hospital’s safety, occupational health and Covid-19 protocols.
Gerald Lotriet, the health union’s provincial chairman, expressed his shock at the increase in the number of positive cases among staff members.
“We have investigated for the time being and it has emerged that the hospital has become a breeding ground for the virus due to the lack of precautionary measures to stop the spread,” says Lotriet.
That’s why Hospersa has called on the Department of Labor to intervene and close the hospital.
Lotriet says the hospital should close until the proper protocols to ensure staff safety are in place.
Tygerberg Hospital and the Western Cape Health Department, in turn, said the safety of their staff is a priority.
“The allegations are deplorable and create the perception that the safety of staff and patients is not receiving the necessary attention,” said Mark van der Heever, spokesman for the department.
According to the department, since the beginning of the outbreak, the hospital has been at the forefront of developing and implementing policies and standard operating procedures. This includes individual risk assessment of its staff, the assessment of hazardous areas and the identification of vulnerable staff members.
“The hospital has taken numerous steps to reduce the risk of transmission in general by stopping routine visits and increasing its outpatient services.”
A separate access management strategy has also been implemented to reduce contamination.
“The number of entrances to the building has been reduced and there is a dedicated entrance only for staff, which is not used by patients or the public.”
Other entrances are only for patients heading to the emergency units.
According to Van der Heever, the hospital has also established clear protocols to deal with the bodies of people dying from Covid-19.
“The management of Tygerberg Hospital would like to work with labor organizations to manage the staff safety issues together. It is critical that the hospital maintains a healthy workforce to fulfill the key goals of service delivery to patients with Covid-19. ”