The protesters say they want to be tested for the virus and claim that they have not been given personal protective equipment. Support staff at Helen Joseph Hospital are protesting outside the facility on Monday, asking to be tested for Covid-19, among other requests, after more than five nurses tested positive for the virus.
A spokesperson for the protesters, Martha, told a SABC reporter that the protest action began last Friday.
The spokesperson alleged that some wards, including the causality ward, had not been shut down and decontaminated after staff stationed in these wards tested positive for Covid-19.
Martha said the support staff are also protesting for them to be tested as they fear for their safety.
She further alleged that there had been no communication from the hospital’s management after some nurses tested positive for Covid-19.
The spokesperson said the protesters would hand over a memorandum of demands on Monday, which includes their demand for personal protective equipment (PPEs), because they had only been given masks and sanitizers.
Martha said the hospital’s management had said there wasn’t enough money to purchase PPE.
She said protesters were demanding protective clothes, including gowns and clothing to cover staff from the feet upwards. She said this was required for their safety, in particular, that of staff who transport patients who do not know their Covid-19 status.
The spokesperson said the protesters wanted to be tested for the virus and be quarantined until the results came back. She alleged that some hospital staff had tested for Covid-19, however, they were instructed by the CEO to come to work until their results have returned.
Martha said the protest action would go on until the hospital’s management communicates with them and provides solutions to the issues they have raised.
Hospital management would be given two days to respond to the protesters’ memorandum, said Martha.
She claimed that unions were not supporting their protest action, with union shop stewards working on Monday.
“They just pass here and greet us,” Martha said about the shop stewards.
The media liaison for the Gauteng department of health Philani Mhlungu said a response from the department would be given once the hospital had responded to its inquiry.
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Source: The Citizen