Hospersa to hold another meeting with Tygerberg Hospital over worker safety

The union previously called for the closure of the Western Cape's biggest medical facility until the correct health and safety protocols have been put in place, which would allow for a safe return for workers.

FILE: Four Tygerberg Hospital staff members have died of COVID-19 related symptoms. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Health & Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa) will hold another meeting with Tygerberg Hospital management on Monday after it flagged serious concerns about the safety of its members who work there.

The union previously called for the closure of the Western Cape's biggest medical facility until the correct health and safety protocols have been put in place, which would allow for a safe return for workers.

Four Tygerberg Hospital staff members have died of COVID-19 related symptoms.

As of last Tuesday, 296 staff at the hospital had tested positive for COVID-19 of which 144 of them recovered.

Hospersa's Gerald Lotriet said they received complaints from members regarding health and safety protocol concerns at Tygerberg Hospital and therefore initiated a preliminary investigation.

Lotriet said they met with the hospital's management last Friday, but no agreement was reached.

“We sat down with departmental officials as well as Dr Erasmus of Tygerberg Hospital and I can say that we did not reach any consensus.”

They'll therefore conduct an investigation on Monday.

Lotriet said they had members who were older than 55 working at the hospital who have comorbidities and their safety was crucial as the predicted peak in infections was approaching.

“We need those healthcare workers to take care of our communities. But what is materialising now is that, if you put someone at that position who is vulnerable, we are going to lose our experienced healthcare workers.”

The Western Cape Health Department has indicated Tygerberg Hospital is one of many where healthcare workers have tested positive for COVID-19 and said it was simply not practical to take such a large facility offline.