“The dismissed staff members include three midwives who neglected a pregnant mother leading her to give birth in a street outside a clinic in the Tshwane district,” department spokeswoman Phume Khumalo said on Monday.
A midwife from a Soweto community health centre was fired after failing to properly diagnose a pregnant mother, as was a doctor who refused to provide care to a pregnant mother.
“Cases involving five other professionals were referred to the health professions council for further investigation and disciplinary action, while 13 cases were handled internally by the department’s labour relations unit.”
The department investigated complaints and allegations of poor patient care and “serious adverse events” in provincial hospitals and clinics.
According to health MEC Hope Papo, in 2012, 373 cases were recorded, and between January and September last year, 532. The majority of these were at Gauteng’s main hospitals — Chris Hani Baragwanath (39 cases), Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg (25), Dr George Mukhari (16) and Steve Biko in Pretoria (seven).
The complaints involved included negligence, sexual assault, a lack of skills, system failures, and errors.
The department had also begun reviewing midwifery practice standards to prevent litigation in this area.
“Our own experience has also taught us most medico-legal cases emanate from obstetrics and gynaecologists,” Papo said.
Training was being provided to improve attitudes and communication between staff and patients.
In the 2012/2013 financial year the department trained 188 doctors and 203 nurses to manage obstetric emergencies. Nurses were trained to use early warning charts.
In 2012, the department trained 120 nurses in midwifery while 79 received training in advanced midwifery and neonatology.