Popular Democratic Movement's Member of Parliament, Reggie Diergaardt, brought attention to critical patients allegedly being turned away from St. Mary's Hospital in Rehoboth's Casualty Unit, raising concerns about fatalities among those awaiting treatment. 

Health and Social Services Minister Dr. Kalumbi Shangula acknowledged challenges shared by many health facilities nationwide, attributing part of the issue to cases termed "cold cases." 

Dr. Shangula emphasised the importance of prioritising critical cases, noting that private patients sometimes lack the patience to wait their turn, even when not categorised as critical.

"The challenges experienced at this hospital, like other health facilities around the country, are that many of the cases that are present at the health facility are what we refer to as cold cases. These are individuals who present at the casualty departments of hospitals after skipping the lines at health centres and clinics. After assessment, cold cases may be advised to present to a clinic or health centre for appropriate treatment in order to decongest casualties so that they can only deal with emergency cases. Staff members have a duty to prioritise emergency cases. I can emphatically state that no patient has died while waiting for treatment at St. Mary's Hospital Casualty Unit. The deaths recorded at the Outpatient Department over the last five years stand at 35."

In response to Diegaardt's inquiry regarding staffing levels per shift at the hospital, Dr. Shangula stated that the existing personnel configuration at St. Mary's Hospital comprises three medical officers, two registered nurses, and 33 enrolled nurses. 

Additionally, two medical officers from the state, stationed at Rehoboth Health Centre, contribute to medical services at the hospital and are included in the call roster.

Dr. Shangula expressed that his ministry is diligently addressing nationwide shortages of clinical staff. 

As part of this effort, the ministry has identified positions that require abolition, aiming to create new posts for clinical staff in accordance with the principle of compensatory reduction. 

Dr. Shangula thus affirmed that St. Mary's Hospital is actively included in this ongoing process.

Photo Credits
NBC Digital News


Joleni Shihapela