Health department acknowledges crisis
Gauteng’s health department has confirmed that some hospitals in the province were experiencing backlogs in surgery as a result of budgetary constraints and a shortage of staff.
Spokesperson Simon Zwane said the department was doing its best to address the situation.
“We had engaged with the provincial treasury in an effort to find more resources to be released to central hospitals to address staff shortages, alleviate budgetary pressures and deal with repair of equipment,” he said.
This followed allegations by the DA that patients in need of cleft palate operations could wait up to 10 years for surgery at the Steve Biko Academic hospital in Pretoria.
DA health spokesperson Jack Bloom said that 1 629 patients were on a waiting list to have operations at the hospital.
Zwane said the department was also planning to train lower categories of nursing staff, to increase the number of staff members able to assist with basic intensive care of patients.
“We are also looking at increasing the number of intensive care unit beds in the province,” Zwane added.
Zwane said Steve Biko has conducted 3 586 surgical operations and Chris Hani Baragwanath conducted 16 585 operations from January to July this year, while Dr George Mukhari Academic conducted 4 727 operations.
“While the surgical operations conducted are evidently more than those that are postponed, the department is trying to ensure that all patients receive treatment when it is due,” said Zwane.