Fri, 20 Sep 2019

The disciplinary measures against three doctors, accused of stealing two broken chairs from Tygerberg Hospital, is set to undergo a review.

The doctors, studying Anesthesiology at the hospital, removed the broken chairs to have the furniture refurbished for use in the staff room, Times Select reported.

The doctors insist verbal permission was given for them to remove the chairs from the hospital property.

Following a disciplinary process, one doctor was dismissed, another suspended and the third sanctioned with unpaid leave for a month and a final written warning.

In a written response the doctors state: "The intent was to repair and re-use unwanted, disposed of chairs. Verbal permission was granted for their removal. The requested paperwork was sought, but unfortunately not attained prior to the inappropriate involvement of police services."

On Friday, the DA passed a motion for the review, with verbal commitment given by Health MEC Nomafrech Mbombo that there would be a review of the disciplinary process, confirmed MPP Wendy Philander.

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Philander adds that the chairs have since been returned to the hospital and calls the disciplinary action "unfair".

"The sought after paperwork for the removal of the chairs was not submitted prior to police involvement and led to two weeks of suspension with unpaid leave for one doctor, another doctor was sanctioned for one month without payment, the final doctor with sanctioned with dismissal," she said.

The consequences for doctors have troubling effects on their careers as well as the service load at Tygerberg Hospital, one of the largest health facilities in the Western Cape, Philander said.

"The DA in the Western Cape has therefore asked, in the interests of fairness, that this matter be reviewed by the minister to ensure that this is not a misunderstanding and to ensure appropriate and reasonable action," she said.

The Western Cape health department has already launched an urgent investigation into the disciplinary process, Times Live reported.

In the meantime, a petition against the sanctions has gained over 13 500 signatures. The petition states the doctors have been "victimised and treated unjustly" and calls for their immediate reinstatement.

The SA Society of Anaesthesiologists (Sasa) has also spoken out against the sanctions, saying their healthcare system can ill afford the loss of three doctors.

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