Serious allegations are being leveled against the management of Tygerberg Hospital, including accusations that the establishment is not properly ensuring the safety of their staff.

National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (Nupsaw) is claiming that one of their members was forced to work despite notifying the hospital management that she was feeling ill. Nurses based at the hospital told the union that there is a significant shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) but they are still required to work under these conditions.

Further allegations include that over 200 health workers at the facility have contracted the virus due to a lack of training and protective gear. A report by the Western Cape Health Department showed that 221 staff had tested positive for the virus at the facility.

When asked how the management at Tygerberg Hospital are ensuring the safety of staff, Laticia Pienaar – Principal Communications Officer – from Tygerberg Hospital said, “There are several measures taken including daily screening, training and education about personal protective behavior and PPE (Personal Protective equipment) use, the provision of adequate PPE, risk assessments of staff members, and where indicated, testing of staff at the hospital. There are several policies and standard operating procedures in place to guide safe practices for all staff at the hospital.”

Pienaar said the hospital is looking to work alongside unions to ensure staff are protected and have acknowledged their concerns.

“It is understandable that staff are fearful and anxious. The hospital will therefore continue to implement measures to maximise protection of staff, whilst also asking staff to ensure their own safe behaviour in the workplace and at home.  The hospital wishes to work in collaboration with organised labour (union representatives) to jointly ensure that staff are optimally protected in their work places,” she added.

So far, two nursing staff at the hospital have died and over 200 cases of the virus were reported at the facility.

Nupsaw maintains that more training is needed and that the World Health Organisation (WHO) needs to work closely with government to ensure that businesses and establishments are held responsible when they fail to comply to lockdown regulations, at the cost of their staff.

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