Woman flies to George for hip surgery

2015-06-25 06:00

A 78-YEAR-OLD woman from Port Edward can finally live a pain-free life after Western Cape doctors operated on her hip.

The woman, who requested anonymity for fear of intimidation, was number 281 on a waiting list for surgery at the Port Shepstone Regional Hospital.

Her daughter flew her to the George Provincial Hospital in February and she received hip-replacement surgery in June.

“It is totally unacceptable that vulnerable patients from KZN should have to seek treatment in the Western Cape. The DA believes the root cause of the problem lies with poor planning and specialist shortages in this province,” said Dr Rishigen Viranna, MPL.

His statement was supported by Port Shepstone Hospital officials who confirmed that the long orthopaedic operation waiting lists are primarily due to staff shortages and increasing patient numbers.

Viranna said the hospital currently has only one consultant orthopaedic surgeon who is overwhelmed with patients from four surrounding hospitals, two district clinics (Ugu and Sisonke), accident victims from the N2 freeway and patients crossing the border from the Eastern Cape, where the health system has collapsed.

“It is clear that KZN’s health department must act swiftly to formulate a plan to attract consultant specialists to rural regional hospitals, all of which are facing staff shortages and increasing patient caseloads,” he said.

Desmond Motha, spokesman for the KZN MEC for Health, said the department­ was doing all it could to employ health-care professionals to ensure that all facilities are manned by qualified people.

“Every year, the department sends medical students to Cuba and also provides­ bursaries in order to ensure it has a broader base of medical practitioners­,” he said.

Motha said that the department has announced that 43 health-care professionals, including some from Port Shepstone Regional Hospital, will be sent on registrar courses.

“The burden of diseases will always overwhelm the availability of health-care professionals. That’s why the MEC is calling on the public to adopt healthy lifestyles that will help prevent or delay the onset of diseases, especially non-communicable diseases,” he said. - Supplied

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