Putting the record straight

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PUTTING IT RIGHT of Komani writes: I refer to the report in Friday’s Rep, “Community wants week-long clinic services”. While it is factually true, there are some facts which have not been made known, therefore creating an impression that this has been a deliberate act on the part of the nursing staff at Philani Clinic not to work over weekends.

In September 2014, nursing staff were told the executive committee (“exco”) had listened to the demands of the community that the health facility be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 8am to 4.30pm.

The nurses complied for about a year while fighting for remuneration for working weekends, only to be told that this was not funded. To top it all, there was no documentation or contract forthcoming (to date) instructing the nurses that they had been changed from five-day workers to seven-day workers.

The nurses received only a lousy R200 for working the Sundays and nothing for Saturdays … and this took six months to be paid.

The nurses then refused to work weekends due to the fact that remuneration was so little and it took so long to be paid out.

There were only two nurses on duty at a time to see all sorts of ailments from the catchment area, as well as other areas. With no panic buttons and one security guard on duty, they felt vulnerable.

Because the nurses stopped working weekends, it was instituted by the department of health (Lukhanji) to deduct monies from the nurses to the tune of about R1500.

This has also led to disciplinary hearings for members of staff – this while there is still no documentation forthcoming regarding the weekend working situation.

This is why the clinic committee stepped in to take this and other matters up with the department, which led to the closing of the clinic last week by the community.

As for medication, Philani is one of the clinics that assists other clinics with medication when there is a shortage. There are sometimes problems with the delivery of medication from the depot or some medication is out of stock at the depot.

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