Andile Tshuma, Chronicle Reporter
MPILO Central hospital was yesterday turning away patients as the out patients department is closed and the casualty unit is only attending to emergency cases.

When a Chronicle news crew arrived at the medical institution, security personnel were turning away prospective patients at the pedestrian entrance, telling them that the hospital was only attending to emergency cases.

This is despite the fact that guards have no expertise to determine whether a case is an emergency or not.

Mpilo Central Hospital Clinical Director Dr Solwayo Ngwenya said the security personnel turning away patients were acting on instructions.

He said the hospital was only serving people whose lives were under threat due to sickness.

Dr Ngwenya said people who could manage to walk to the hospital entrance were not classified as emergency cases.

“The guards were OK to turn away some people who came to the entrances. We were only taking emergencies as the situation is dire. And by emergency, we mean someone who is at a point of life and death and someone who can walk to the hospital entrance is surely not an emergency case. Emergency cases usually come by ambulance or are brought to the hospital by care givers. Even for those who will come by ambulance, we will still assess if they are indeed emergency cases, because some may take advantage and call an ambulance for a minor sickness,” said Dr Ngwenya.

Dr Ngwenya urged members of the public to bear with the hospital, which he said was understaffed and trying to protect patients admitted by limiting numbers frequenting the institution. “People must understand that this situation is different and we need to minimise numbers by all means. Already we are struggling as a hospital and we are understaffed. Imagine if we allow too much in and out movement and then we have this Covid-19 at Mpilo, it could be disastrous,” he said.

At the main entrance, the security personnel were screening people with some gaining entry while some people were turned back.

A number of people sat outside the hospital gates, seemingly contemplating their next move after failure to gain entry into the hospital grounds.

A woman who spoke to Chronicle, Mrs Sanele Nkomo, said she was turned away as she had come to get a growth on her foot checked.

“I have this growth on my left foot and it has been growing most of the time. There is no pain, but sometimes it gets painful especially if I wear closed shoes for some time. Someone advised me to seek medical attention as it could get cancerous. But when I arrived at the gate, the security guard said right now the hospital is only attending to life and death situations so I must come after this emergency decree is suspended,” she said.

At the United Bulawayo Hospitals, the news crew observed patients being allowed into the [email protected]_tshuma