Concern over ‘two issues stewed into one’

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Photo: Toppr

Mondli Mvambi, Spokesperson: Free State Health, writes:

I would like to raise my concerns over what I consider to be inaccurate and thus misleading reporting in a story dated 10 January 2019, on page 2 of Bloemfontein Courant.
My concern is that there are a number of factual inaccuracies that need to be corrected, which cannot be left unattended in my view because they impact on the brand image and character of the department.

The following areas need your corrective attention:
1. The first sentence of this article is problematic as it paints a generalised negative light on the health facilities in Bloemfontein over an isolated incident that specifically happened in one health facility.
2. This story conflates and fudges facts of two facilities, namely National District Hospital and the Free State Psychiatric Complex, and fails to draw a distinction between the uniquely raised issues affecting these institutions.

The National District Hospital issue was about the water leaking from a tanker and the Free State Psychiatric Complex was about electricity cut as a result of a burst water pipe. There are two separate stories here, which have now been stewed into one.

It is my contention that you have not exercised sufficient test of proof of the allegations leveled by EFF. We have asserted that the inconveniences of lack of electricity were minimised by the use of lanterns and the generator and yet your story goes on to give credence to a ridiculous claim by EFF that “Nurses were working with their cell phones while treating patients. The patients did not even eat because they could not prepare food for them because of the electricity failure”. This is completely untrue.

I ask, where is the evidence of this because the EFF placed wrong and dangerous claim in the public domain via your respectable platform, which runs a risk of believability owing to your credibility. Where was EFF when the nurses were allegedly working with cell phones?
It is not comforting nor balancing news in our view that in the paragraph below that you quote me as stating what we did to intervene. The claim by EFF should not have been there in the first instance.

It is my contention that on the balance of probabilities anyone who is making claims of any sorts should also be able to present evidence that we all can check and verify in order to confirm or falsify.

We are in a politically charged season where political parties try every desperate attempt to gain publicity but this cannot be at the expense of facts and against the credibility of public institutions as emotive as health.

It is my trust that you will find it in your good conscience to correct the factual inaccuracies and redeem the damage caused by this article.