NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 6 – The crisis at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) deepened Tuesday as nurses downed their tools, complaining of mistreatment following the brain surgery mix-up.
The Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) Secretary General Seth Panyako told Capital FM News that all the nurses at the hospital would not resume duty until all their grievances are met.
“As from today all the nurses at the Kenyatta National Hospital will not work. They are being mistreated after the mix-up and they will not take it any longer. We are telling them not to go back until this issue is resolved,” he stated.
This comes even as consultant doctors joined the over 700 registrar doctors who on Monday boycotted work after their colleague was suspended due to a brain surgery mix-up.
“These residents offer 85 per cent of work that is done at KNH. Some of them are self sponsored, they are not paid a single cent. A few of them are government sponsored. Importantly for Kenyatta, the hospital cannot control them because they are not their employees,” one of them stated.
They said that they will not go back to work until the Collective Bargaining Agreement signed with the government was adhered to.
“Now that they have withdrawn their services and we are running with a skeletal staff of only 15 percent, we will be forced withdraw our services because we cannot handle the emergencies that come to Kenyatta and that is very important,” they said.
“You find one nurse left with 0 patients or two nurses in a ward that has 100 patients. These two nurses are supposed to issue drugs or to dress wounds.”
The hospital in the meantime has appointed an audit firm to investigate the events that led up to the brain surgery mix up.
In a statement, the hospital’s Board of Management stated that it takes “any allegations of negligence very seriously and mandated the firm to give an independent and authoritative position on the matter and together with a comprehensive report.”
According to the Corporate Affairs and Communications Manager Simon Ithai, the Committee of the Board has also commenced its work to review the institutional processes that may have contributed to the mix up and institute structural where necessary.
He stated that the Board remains open to submissions and suggestions and appealed to stakeholders to address their grievances in a manner that does not jeopardise the welfare of patients.
KNH boss Lily Koros was sent on compulsory leave following the neurosurgery mix-up that has embarrassed the region’s largest referral hospital.
Also suspended is the officer in charge of clinical affairs, the surgeon involved and a nurse, to pave way for investigations ordered by Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki.