Three Free State Psychiatric Complex officials, including the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), have been placed on precautionary suspension pending an investigation into numerous allegations levelled against them.
Provincial Health Department spokesperson, Mondli Mvambi, says the suspension is meant solely to ensure the investigation into angry staff members’ claims against the CEO as well as the Heads of Nursing and Supply Chain is carried out without prejudice. Mvambi says the disgruntled nursing staff alleges that patient care at the Bloemfontein-based facility is being compromised due to what they deem to be bad management practices.
The nurses who recently embarked on a strike argue that “things like the quality of food, the security of patients and nursing staff, the provision of decent clothing and poor hygienic conditions” are compromising patients’ lives.
The investigation which was instituted by the Provincial Health Department Head, David Motau, is underway with officials from Bophelo House – which is the department’s headquarters – already on the ground. Motsamai Motsoari has been appointed as the Acting CEO at this facility. Mvambi has asked that the officials not be named until the investigation is complete.
The facility has long been shrouded in controversy. It has been reported, the hospital’s dilapidated infrastructure, including old installations, have resulted in the facility being prone to fires – some which have claimed lives. In August 2018, the then delegates from the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) raised concerns over major refurbishments and upgrades at the institution being pushed back to the 2018/19 financial year.
Project Manager at the Free State Department of Health, Nqobile Baartman, told the delegation at the time the R6 million that was set aside for upgrades to the building had to be used to upgrade two substations at the facility due to electricity and water supply issues. The hospital went on to install about ten Distribution Boards (DB) to improve electricity supply about a month later.
Olebogeng Motse / OFM News