Surgical crisis at Jhb hospital: DA

2012-08-09 14:18

Johannesburg - Machines to treat cancer patients have been fixed at the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, the Gauteng health department said on Thursday.

"Currently six machines are operational and a catch-up plan for patients whose treatment was re-scheduled previously has been put in place," spokesman Simon Zwane said in a statement.

"The hospital has put in place a catch-up plan which includes working overtime to attend to patients whose treatment was re-scheduled previously."

Zwane was replying to recent reports by the Democratic Alliance (DA) alleging that shortages of staff and equipment at the hospital were leading to the cancellation of about 100 operations a week.

DA provincial health spokesman Jack Bloom said shortages of essential items like gloves or sterilised gowns and linen were leading to the delay, or cancellation, of operations.

This had resulted in a four-week-long waiting list for breast cancer patients, which could be life-threatening.

Bloom alleged the situation was a result of budget cuts and unpaid suppliers.

"The hospital is now refusing all transfers of trauma cases from other hospitals and doctors warn that only one major resuscitation can be done at a time."

He said open-heart surgery could not be done safely due to the non-availability of surgical headlights.

"A surgeon has resorted to using a camping headlight for paediatric cardiac surgery."

Bloom said there were 21 vacancies in the 65 posts in the hospital's anaesthesia department, while other departments were similarly short-staffed.

Zwane said the department had advertised a tender for the replacement of laundry machinery at the hospital.

"Current machines are older than 50 years and have constant breakdowns which results in the slow delivery of linen to the hospital."

He said the department was working with the hospital's management to prioritise appointment of staff to critical posts.

"These would ensure that the hospital has adequate linen and gowns at all times."

The DA called for Gauteng health MEC Hope Papo to urgently resolve the surgical crisis at the hospital.

  • kim.buren - 2012-08-09 14:43

    So how is NHI going to be any different? How do you break these machines? How do you run out of surgical gloves, gowns and linen. So many questions as usual and no freeking explanations. Once again the ANC do not care about their people, only themselves

      rob.bayliss.94 - 2012-08-09 16:07

      Next? I suspect that we are going to see increasing failures in construction; buildings bridges mentioned in the article about the Nelson madela Bridge. The bridge article is more about maintenance (lack of), I wonder about the quality of materials and methods used?

      kala.bafazi - 2012-08-10 09:16

      I don't understand how the Health budget is increased every year but the hospital's budget gets cut. I don't think the budget was cut, the money has just been redirected to the anc slush fund.

  • rbphiri - 2012-08-09 14:47

    The government ignored the ripples in the water, now the ripple effect is turning into a tidal wave of endless medical issues. The problem has plagued the health department for years now, one would think there would be contigency plans in place to curb the problem. I wonder how NHI will solve this rubix cube of a problem.

      bless.boswell - 2012-08-09 21:07

      It's all the fault of apartheid

  • iainrhind - 2012-08-09 14:53

    A shortage of stocks is not a new phenomenon. Before I left the Provincial ambulance service in KZN in 2000, we were allocated one box of gloves (100 gloves) to last a month between 4 paramedics on our response car. We were also rationed on IV cannulas (drip needles) and drip fluids. Not to mention things like bandages etc.

  • Danie - 2012-08-09 14:58

    Could the WC expect some Gauteng medical refugees like apartheid SA experience during the apartheid years where black people left their free black managed countries to be oppressed in apartheid SA ,but earn some money, be educated or receive medical help, as somehow the apartheid regime manage to supply to SA black population as well ass those from free black managed countries , work, better education & medical facilities than what their own black manage countries could

  • lacrimose.wolf - 2012-08-09 15:09

    Laundry machines that are 50yrs old - that means circa 1962! Where do they get parts? Not to mention these must be very energy & water hungry

  • ex.dutchman - 2012-08-09 15:12

    Yip 50 year old washing machinery had not been maintained in 15 years. The evil apartheid regime did not bother their ass to get the machines replaced before '94. Pure spite I tell you, pure spite. And then the mechanics that were trained to maintain the machine took a package without training anybody because the new manager was black and represented the majority of South Africans. They were only working on the machines since the hospital was built. After all the hospital was only completed in the late ‘70s. OK there are only 44 anaesthetists, but hey nothing a spot of unpaid overtime cannot be sorted out with, filling the gap for the 21 that left. After all it is for the greater good. What? You want meals while you are in hospital? Shees next thing you know you demand a bed as well and we do not even have clean linen. If this was not so sad it would have been a joke!

      kent.harding.9 - 2012-08-09 21:59

      Maintance is so oldschool, the new policy is 'if it aint broke dnt fix it, nd wen it breaks just use the others more nd wen they break stall 4 as long as u can, nd wen u cant stall anymore... Its tender time, call yr cuzy'

  • ashley.stroebel - 2012-08-09 15:20


  • michael.bushes - 2012-08-09 15:36

    And so they shall vote for the cANCer yet again. Check the worry in my eye

  • anakin.skyvader - 2012-08-09 15:55

    Don't forget to prescribe PANADO for all the patients, it dissolves all patient problems instantly. And don't worry about checking the diesel supply for the emergency generator, and don't worry to see if all the emergency generator maintenance is up to date. Don't worry, be happy, everything looks after itself automatically, this white man's colonial things and stuff.

  • vernon.samuel.7 - 2012-08-09 16:09

    I see a Limpopo textbook crisis all over again. The warnings are being screamed from the hilltops (for several years now, it must be said), and the department spokesperson calmly says that tenders have been put out for laundry machines and catch-up plans are in place. Won't you please acknowledge that this is a crisis? Do we have to wait for deaths of patients before something concrete is done. Why is Bloom the only one visiting the hospital? Where the the president, premier and health minister? Are they waiting for the perfect photo opportunity? This is not rocket science - it is people's lives. As a tax-paying citizen, I demand that our president not leave the country again on his international jet jaunts until each and every crisis in this country is properly attended to. At least feign some concern for your electorate you stupid fat twat!

  • charmaine.hoffmann.1 - 2012-08-09 16:31

    The only solution is to clean house from the top....Ministers, MEC's, Head of Departments and so on, rotten on top, bottom will be even worse...Is this going to happen, can the police (top management) police themselves...Dont think so!!! I am sorry, but NEVER were there these kind of problems in the Old SA...Blacks and Whites might have sit in two different waiting rooms (which I did not aggree with) to see the docter but treatments of ailments was the same for both when it came to the problem, however, today EVERYONE suffers from all different backrounds!! Hospitals were clean, there was bedding and food galore for the, unless you have a medical to make your funeral arrangements well in advance!!

  • emile.vanrayner.7 - 2012-08-09 21:18

    this kind of thing is going to keep on happening. SA has as much young talent that is medically inclined as any other country. we just dont offer our young doctors the same incentives here as they would receive in other countries. the private hospitals are doing GREAT btw. alot of our young doctors prefer to work there and we even get people from overseas coming to work in SA private hospitals. none in the public sector though, because Healthcare in the public sector is treated the same as Education. Badly

  • bless.boswell - 2012-08-10 03:41

    I elected to have my baby in the newly built general hospital in park town in the 80s and would have eaten off the floor if I'd had to - now I would feel dirty just looking at it. Dr John McMurdo ran a tight ship, the equipment was maintained, consumables paid for, linen on every bed - quality food supplied to patients and nurses who cared and were a credit to the staff. It was a hospital to be proud of. Somewhere I felt safe and proud to have my baby girl. I suppose it's the fault of apartheid that many people that go there now are turned away because there are no facilities, or they go there only to be so neglected and ill treated that they die? Where are the funds that should have been used to maintain the status quo? Why has no-one actually insisted that government be made to explain? This is not just neglect, theft, corruption - call it what you will, this is murder! The hippocratic oath states "do no harm" - I do not see that medicine as practiced in ANC-run institutions abides by the hippocratic oath - and worse still when it is proven not to be doing so, they are not taken to task. A caring wonderful man lovingly helps his dying mother to end her life and has to serve a sentence, but nursing staff who abandon, neglect or maybe even RAPE the sick and dying appear to not even warrant a reprimand. And this is supposed to be a civilized society?

  • Peter Zylstra - 2012-08-10 08:33

    Incompetancy is the root cause of all SA's problems! Rid all institutions public and private of incompetants and all problems will be solved.

      js.mysman - 2012-08-10 10:15

      The most critical thing is to get the right people in the right places, competent people in the right positions to do jobs properly. If you get that right, then everything else will follow - Helen Zille - 24/04/2009

  • BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-08-10 15:51

    But if the Votas are OK with this then we must accept that. Clearly they are quite happy because they keep on voting this idiot party into government, and therefore, please do not expect me to feel sorry for you. And no, you will not have the private health care so that your party can destroy that as well. Sorry, you got what you voted for - no tears now please.

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