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Two sides to private hospital care

Sep 11 2014 17:39 Fin24

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Cape Town – The focus in the debate on the reasons for the high cost of private hospital care has shifted to the conditions and behaviour of staff at these hospitals.

Fin24 users have provided different views on their experiences of private hospital care.

On the one hand there is a Fin24 user who agrees with the view that nursing staff at private hospitals are not paid well. He writes:

Yes, private hospitals pay much less. I know, because my wife works at a private hospital on the South Coast of KZN. The staff members are treated badly and paid little.
READ: Why private healthcare is expensive

Fin24 user Sister N describes her difficult working conditions in a private hospital. She writes:

I’ve studied and worked in private healthcare for all of my nursing career.

You can never escape the continuous reminder that it is a business and profit needs to be made. It is a high turnover, production machine.

This always seems to become more evident when you’re at a breaking point and feel burnt out.

When requesting leave it seems an inappropriate time because of workload that needs to be conquered and the lack of "appropriately skilled" staff to fill in while you’re away.

Your unit functionality is your pride.

Hence you always find yourself either coming in from leave to work overtime to make extra cents or working extra shifts on your off day to ensure there’s extra cents for the next week or month end – depending on the payment method.

But ultimately it is for the sake of your company functionality and pride.

We always hear how government workers’ salaries and benefits are better. Maybe not so much their working conditions, although some have gotten used to these.
READ: Payment of private hospital staff questioned

On the other hand there is another Fin24 user who paints a different picture of ICU staff at a private hospital. She writes:

I often worked the night shift in a pathology lab. When we started drawing blood early in the morning at about 02:00, then the ICU nursing sisters are sitting there asleep.

We literally have to almost climb over them to turn on the light and then they are battling to wake up.

Why does one have to pay such high fees for staff who cannot even take care of you or your family in a hospital 90% of the time.

The excuse they give is that they are only lying on their arms.

At a well known private hospital they are battling with linen to such an extent that they do not even put clean linen on all the beds each day. Their linen service is contracted out.

The high ICU fees that people are paying per day are horrendous. Go and do some research on how many of the staff has experience. What you are, therefore, actually paying high fees for, are the machines.

ICU is supposedly there to take care of you, but go and see how many staff members take care of two patients. I mean, what are you then paying for?
ALSO READ: Plea for more generous medical fee negotiations
– Fin24