Tired and traumatised healthcare professionals in Gauteng are worried about being overworked and understaffed. They’re asking authorities for counselling and job security. They are exhausted, mentally and physically, but ready to serve.
This is how some Gauteng nurses and doctors on the frontline of the pandemic have described this dark time.
The province still has the most infections recorded in the country. Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mogkethi says her department has a plan to alleviate pressure on hospitals, by referring patients to the Nasrec field hospital.
“The contract at Nasrec was expiring, but we entered into another negotiation with them, they will be extending the contract with us,” she says. She has confirmed that the facility is up and running.
“Currently, we’ve admitted 290 patients at Nasrec,” says Mokgethi. Nasrec is a 1,000 bedded field hospital.
“If we have pressure, we will be able to repurpose the rest of the beds and increase staff to 274 compliments. There are six full-time doctors that are working from the Cuban brigade. Meanwhile, doctors and nurses are asking authorities to attend to their mental health.
According to Mokgethi, health workers used to be booked for psychological helped or to see a social worker. However, now psychological support can be arranged telephonically.
Mokgethi is urging patients suffering from COVID-19 complications to report to hospitals sooner as some deaths could have been prevented had they been admitted earlier.
The department is also hiring more healthcare workers to help with the pressure.
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