New Tembisa Hospital CEO on a mission to fix staff attitude

The new CEO of Thembisa hospital,Dr. Ashley Vusi Mthunzi.
Dr. Ashley Vusi Mthunzi

By Dumisani Hlatswayo

The new CEO of Tembisa Hospital, Dr. Ashley Vusi Mthunzi, is on a mission to fix staff attitudes at one of Gauteng’s most bad public hospitals. Mthunzi joined the Tembisa hospital after leading Pholosong Regional Hospital in Brakpan from November 2019 up until April 2021. Before taking the reins at Tembisa Hospital, Mthunzi acted as the Far East Rand hospital CEO for a short period.

Mthunzi’s appointment came at the right time when Tembisa Hospital was facing a deluge of complaints from patients. On June 25, 2020, Shonisani Lethole tweeted his ordeal from his hospital bed and appealed to former Health Minister Zweli Mkhize to intervene. “Mkhize, can I respond to your tweets if the problems I have at one of your facilities continue(s), it’s becoming unbearable and they don’t seem to care. Didn’t eat for 48 hours,” he tweeted.

The hospital seems to struggle to serve an estimated 2.5 million population from the three Gauteng metros — Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg, and Tshwane.

Earlier last year, a report by the Health Ombud found that Lethole’s death could have been avoided and recommended that 19 workers at the Tembisa Hospital face disciplinary action for their alleged roles in what happened.

During his keynote speech, Mthunzi reminded everyone how Covid-19 put pressure on hospitals.

“2020 till date, the busiest day was on the 17th of July, you will think that was the third wave. We received 255 patients on that day alone. You have to appreciate it because, for 255 patients, you need a porter there, and you need a cleaner there,” he said.

To nurses and doctors, Mthunzi said: “You need to change your attitude. Then your patients will be advocates; they will say Tembisa Hospital has changed. Something is happening in Tembisa, and I am not sure what is happening. It is not the issue of food that is happening now, but there is something that is happening there,” Mthunzi said.

However, most residents still believe a lot still needs to be done to improve the quality of service at the hospital. Speaking to one of the residents who requested to remain anonymous, he said clinicians at Tembisa Hospital don’t take patients seriously. “If your family member is sick when you come to visit them. There won’t be any doctor or a nurse that will explain their sickness,” he said.

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