Support ramped up for healthcare workers as pressure mounts

South Africa: Support ramped up for healthcare workers as pressure mounts

As pressure mounts on Gauteng hospitals to cope with the current surge in Covid-19 cases, hospitals in both the public and private sector are offering counselling and other psychosocial support to healthcare workers.

The health department is using an external service provider to offer therapy to healthcare workers in need.

Private hospital groups Netcare, Mediclinic and Life Healthcare are also offering various forms of counselling to healthcare workers and, in some cases, finding ways to ease the workload of, particularly, nursing staff.

At a ceremony recognising Gauteng healthcare workers on Tuesday, Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku said the province had lost five healthcare workers to Covid-19.

On Thursday, the Gauteng health department will launch a “chaplaincy” programme, in conjunction with various faith-based organisations, to provide support to healthcare workers, said Kwara Kekana, Masuku’s spokesperson.

“The department has a service provider that renders psychological counselling and therapeutic interventions to the health workers and their families,” Kekana told News24.

“This is done face-to-face and remotely or even through home visits where possible. The service provider is Careway and this is a transversal GPG (Gauteng provincial government) wide service.”

She said the department also has “employee assistant services” in all its facilities to look after the mental and emotional health of employees.