News24

Gauteng health ready for 2010

2009-12-07 22:35

Pretoria - The Gauteng department of health is ready for the Fifa World Cup, it said on Monday, in response to reports to the contrary.

Spokesperson Mandla Sidu said health facilities were being prepared to handle any situation during the World Cup next year and beyond.

"In preparation, the accident and emergency departments at the central and regional hospitals are currently being made ready to provide the required services," he said in a statement.

In October the department handed over 115 ambulances and 15 response vehicles to municipalities.

May open more hospitals

It was considering reopening the Hillbrow, Discoverers and Kempton Park hospitals to increase the number of beds available.

In June, it launched an operation to stabilise, improve and sustain the province's delivery of a quality health service.

"One of the successes of this campaign is the decrease of the weekly diversion of ambulances from facility to facility due to the shortage of beds from 88 to 11," Sidu said.

He dismissed as misleading reports that paramedics with critically ill patients were being turned away from public hospitals because of insufficient beds and shortage of staff.

Sido said the reports caused unnecessary panic.

No patient turned away

When the campaign was launched, health MEC Qedani Mahlangu promised that no patient would be turned away from a facility without having been stabilised.

"Patients must not be moved from one institution to another without being helped," Mahlangu said.

"Each patient presenting at a health facility will be properly assessed, and if necessary, referred in the prescribed manner to an appropriate institution.

"Emergency treatment must always be given even if the patient is not from the designated patient catchment area in accordance with the departmental referral system," he said.