Unions protest against suspension of nurses in newborns in a box debacle

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Health workers’ unions have led a peaceful demonstration outside the Mahikeng Provincial Hospital in the North West following the incident that led to newborn babies being placed in cardboard boxes.

The demonstration comes after the Health Department announced its intention to suspend two employees.

The unions say the hospital had admitted more pregnant women on that day.

Bennet Moshoette from the Health and Allied workers Indaba Trade Union says the nurses did the best they could.

“The hospital is not in a good state, there’s a lack of resources, they are short staffed, nurses have to improvise like we all normally do for those babies to be taken care of. We are here in support of those nurses, so nurses had to do other means for the babies to be in those boxes.”

Meanwhile, Union leaders met with the hospital management while workers were demonstrating outside.

Tshepo Monoketsi, DENOSA’s regional chairperson, says they have reached a consensus with the North West Provincial Hospital’s management that no nurse will be suspended.

Monoketsi says the unions have further demanded a retraction from Health MEC Madoda Sambatha over his utterances that action will be taken against the nurses.

“So, what we agreed upon firstly is about the suspension that they’re going to retract, an initial fact there’s no suspension that is going to take effect, so we are saying they must publicly apologize and retract those suspension letters or the intention to suspend and above all as Denosa, we are viewing the incident as an unfortunate incident, as a tip of an iceberg. When you go to the whole hospital it is a mess.”

VIDEO | North West Provincial Hospital nurses protest suspension of colleagues over babies in boxes: