Nearly 6 000 patients are waiting to undergo surgical operations in two Gauteng hospitals.Gauteng health department spokesperson Kwara Kekana said, to date, the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic and Dr George Mukhari Academic hospitals have 1 850 and 4 097 patients, respectively, waiting to undergo different surgical procedures.Kekana said in a bid to reduce long waiting times for surgical procedures at the two hospitals, the department was continuing with its strategy of redirecting surgical procedures to district hospitals."There are dedicated satellite centres of excellence that have been developed for specific procedures. The benefit of this arrangement is that specialist surgeons that are seconded from the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital to work at the cluster institutions transfer surgical skills to the medical officers working in district hospitals."Furthermore, Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital has scheduled weekly an arthroplasty catch-up drive. The department's quality improvement surgical team has developed a surgical performance improvement plan aimed at improving theatre efficiency across the province," Kekana said.Kekana said Dr George Mukhari Hospital also employed a cluster approach, whereby less critical operations were referred to cluster hospitals, namely Brits, Jubilee and Odi.Those operations are undertaken on a weekly and monthly basis."The Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital's pharmacy, which is one of the busiest in the province, also has measures in place to manage patient waiting times. These include a numbering system that has been put in place for those patients queuing outside the pharmacy between 6:00 to 07:00 to ensure that when the pharmacy opens at 07:30 patients are aware of the starting point."Security officers are also deployed to the pharmacy at 6:00 to assist with the queuing process outside the pharmacy. The centralised chronic medicine dispensing and distribution system is in place for repeat patients and pre-packed medication is collected by frail care facilities and private collection is available for individual patients," Kekana said.News24 had previously reported that the Gauteng Health ministry confirmed that non-emergency surgery for some patients had to be rescheduled at Charlotte Maxeke hospital due to a shortage of medical supplies.