PSMI renal patients endure week without dialysis services as nurses down tools

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By Staff Reporter

PUBLIC Service Medical Investment (PSMI) renal patients at Park View Hospital, Harare have gone for a week without dialysis services after health workers at the institution downed tools.

Affected patients, some having breathing difficulties, on Monday said the hospital staff which normally serves them had not reported for duty since last week citing incapacitation.

An official at the institution confirmed the staff at the hospital had not been paid salaries for over six months and had stopped turning up for duty.

The issue came to light last Friday when the hospital staff spent a week dodging patients.

The official also revealed West End hospital and other PSMI facilities were closed due to non-availability of nurses.

“Yes, we have challenges but we are working hard to make sure the crisis is resolved. As of Wednesday, last week, we got a payment from our parent company (PSMAS) so that we can pay the salaries. We are hoping that before the end of day today, the money will reflect into their accounts,” said the official.

The patients took turns narrating their ordeal as most of them expressed disappointment over management’s failure to prioritize their health.

“We have gone for a week without any dialysis services. Our life is at stake. If we do not act, we will die. We are here to fight for our life. Most of us have missed at least two to three sessions in the past week and I think you know what it means as doctors. Is this a sabotage towards our lives?

“Please resolve this crisis,” a patient who lives out of Harare said.

“My medical expenses are wholly paid for by the government and the treasury gives cash in advance but I was told that the dialysis plant was down. Only to be told it was functional a few minutes later,” added the patient.

During the meeting with management, another patient said: “This crisis is not personal but your staff has been lying to us and today you have given us transfer letters. This will be expensive for us. Why is the hospital staff lying?”

However, it turned out that the patients were being transferred to BBraun Dialysis Unit in Harare.

“We have paid for the service, some of us have paid the dialysis fees in advance but we are being told lies,” added the patient.

The patient further said, “The government introduced that bill (Health Services Amendment Bill) which makes it illegal to go on strike if it’s a critical care service so in this case why are there no arrests? It is also a fraud to patients since they are paying their subscriptions every month without getting any service.”

President Mnangagwa recently signed into law the Health Services Amendment Bill which takes away the rights for public sector health workers to strike.

The new law criminalises any collective job action which goes beyond 72 hours, and any member of the Health Service who breaches the Act shall be liable for a fine and a prison sentence not exceeding six months or both.