Patients from health centre in Blantyre who are rushed to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) at night are returned at the gate by guards because employees are on a strike over January salaries.
Among the chased patients are four pregnant mothers who were rushed to the hospital on Friday night and had Caesar complications.
“They were rushed to the hospital at 2 am only to be told by guards that they could not be allowed into the hospital because staff were on strike because they had not received January salaries,” said one senior medical officer at the hospital.
The officer said the ambulance driver called the Blantyre District Health Office for direction and was told to keep the patients in theambulance.
“The patients stayed in the ambulance for over two hours as DHO staff tried to reason with the hospital top management. The Blantyre DHO which manages the health centres in the city had no choice but to
deploy one nurse each from the health centres to treat patients referred from the health centres,” the officer said.
The officer said the DHO was forced to deploy a nurse each from the health centres because staff at QECH are refusing to treat referred patients.
“That is the situation till now,” said the officer, “but it is a sad situation because lives can easily be lost.”
Ministry of Health spokesman Henry Chimbali uld not immediately be reached for comment.