A cancer patient and more than a dozen mothers and their children were found sleeping on the floor and benches at the Church of Scotland Hospital in Umsinga, in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands, the provincial department of health said on Monday.

Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo made these discoveries during a surprise visit to the hospital on Sunday evening. He ordered its management to find a decent place to house the patients who were awaiting transport to hospitals in Pietermaritzburg on Monday.

The department said Dhlomo was upset because "hospital management ought to have a better system in place after the matter came under the spotlight and was resolved two years ago".

"I am surprised and angry that a matter we resolved long ago has not been effected at this hospital. These patients have left their homes and come here so that they can be reviewed. District hospitals provide transport for them to tertiary hospitals," Dhlomo said.

"If hospital management had been exposed to palliative care maybe they would have been sensitive to this need of our population," he said.

Read more