SAMA calls on all SAMA Members to “Let us know”
Medical Association launches whistleblowing service for Members to help improve standards in all facilities across South Africa
In response to growing concerns regarding poor service, poor standards, and poor working conditions in public and private hospitals, the South African Medical Association (SAMA) is today launching an anonymous whistleblowing service for Members across the country.
The service will be accessible via email and will allow Members to share documented proof of problems in the facilities in which they work. The service is available through email@example.com.
“More and more reports are surfacing of generally poor standards not only public but also private health facilities. We have to do something about this, we cannot simply shrug our shoulders and move on; these conditions require urgent intervention and we are looking at assisting not only our Members but all healthcare workers improve these conditions,” explains Dr Angelique Coetzee, chairperson of SAMA.
Dr Coetzee says many people believe standards are slipping only at public health facilities but that this is not necessarily true. She says there are cases in the private sector where poor service is also taking root, especially in relation to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
“We call on medical professionals to provide us with the necessary evidence to deal effectively with these issues. If there is a lack of medication, oxygen or beds, let us know. If there are patients sleeping in corridors, let us know. If there is poor hygiene in the wards, bathrooms or other facilities, let us know. If there is a lack of linen, poor collection of medical waste, anything which stands in the way of providing quality medical care, you must let us know,” urges Dr Coetzee.
Dr Coetzee says the purpose of the whistleblowing initiative is to tackle poor service and standards at the highest level. She says SAMA will do this by raising issues which are supported by documented proof with provincial Departments of Health, MECs, the National Department of Health, and the Minister of Health and his team.
We are often asked to intervene to get problems resolved but we can’t do that without proper evidence. This is essentially what we’re asking from Members: provide us with the evidence and we’ll take it right to the top in an effort to get it sorted. Poor standards are a major risk to patient care and need to be exposed,” notes Dr Coetzee.
She says the situation of poor standards is becoming more critical now as facilities are being flooded with COVID-19 cases.
“In these instances we need to know as soon as possible because the consequences of ignoring them could be fatal. I want to urge all healthcare workers who genuinely concerned about maintaining services and standards to email us immediately with their stories, and let us try to help deal with the problems urgently,” concludes Dr Coetzee.
SAMA will operate the whistleblowing service for healthcare workers in line with the Protected Disclosures Act, 26 of 2000.
The identity of all respondents will be strictly confidential, and no information on the providers of the information will be supplied to any outside agency.