Tšepong turns away patients

Tšepong turns away patients

MASERU – Netcare is refusing to admit patients at Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital.
The crisis started on Monday after last week’s indaba between Netcare and the Ministry of Health failed to end the impasse over payments and procedures over how the contract was terminated.
The South African company says it is pulling out of the hospital now instead of the initially agreed August 31 date.

Patients are already beginning to feel the impact of the divorce.
Lesotho’s only referral hospital says it is only taking the most critical patients.
Even those referred by doctors in the districts because their illnesses can only be treated at Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital were being blocked from gaining access to the hospital.
Even those who had appointments with the doctors at the hospital were told to go back home and wait to be called.
The same happened to all its filter clinics – Gateway, Mabote, Likotsi and Qoaling.

Most patients had come for their medical check-ups.
The long queues that usually happen at clinics have vanished since Monday.
The situation remained the same last night as thepost went to press.
Sources told this paper that Netcare has already informed the Lesotho Electricity Corporation (LEC), the Water and Sewerage Company (Wasco) and Afrox which is its sole supplier of oxygen to the hospital that it is cutting ties with the government.

A source said the staff is already signing their termination benefits with one insurance company.
When thepost visited the hospital on Tuesday stranded patients were waiting at the gate, hoping the management would let them in.
’Mannyalleng Lephoi, 32, said she had come for an operation that was scheduled weeks ago. Lephoi said a receptionist told her to wait for a call from the hospital.
“I was supposed to be operated on next Monday and I had come for consultation with the doctor ahead of the operation,” she said.
“Now my neck is very painful, they should help me or at least say that they cannot,” she said.

A nurse who asked for anonymity said both Netcare and the government have engaged them on critical decisions.
“We were told that the 14th July 2021 is the last day working for Netcare but today it is the 21st, we are just coming to work,” the nurse said.
“We were instructed to stop attending to any patients except in life-threatening situations,” she said.
“All we know is that we are working for Netcare.”
Netcare has barred the staff from talking to the press.
The hospital’s spokesperson, Thakane Mapeshoane, said she has been instructed not to comment on anything about Netcare, its partners in the Tšepong consortium or the hospital itself.

“I have been told to refer you to the Health Ministry because it is the one that is supposed to talk about these issues,” Mapeshoane said.
The Health Ministry spokesperson, ’Mateboho Mosebekoa, and Director General, Dr ’Nyane Letsie, who referred us back to Mapeshoane.
Health Minister Semano Sekatle said he has since written to Netcare “to stop what they are doing”.

When told that patients are still being turned away despite his letter Sekatle said: “They know that what they are doing is wrong, they just want to cause conflicts between the government and the public.”
“It is a big mistake to be returning patients who need the attention of the nurses,” he said.
“We agreed that they should offer services, but they are not doing so.”
Sekatle said he met Netcare on Tuesday and asked them “to stop what they are doing or else the government will take over all the operations”.

Nkheli Liphoto & Majara Molupe

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