Charlotte Maxeke hospital reopening pushed back – again

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Charlotte Maxeke Hospital not to be reopened just yet. Photo: Msindis Fengu
Charlotte Maxeke Hospital not to be reopened just yet. Photo: Msindis Fengu

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The reopening of the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital has been pushed backed to next month.

Gauteng authorities initially closed the hospital for seven days when parts of it were damaged by fire in April. Then came the big announcement that the oncology unit would open early this month, but this did not happen.

Now the phased reopening, starting with the oncology unit, has been pushed to July 5, according to Gauteng infrastructure development department spokesperson Bongiwe Gambu.

“The delay was caused by the approval of the radiation and oncology unit by the city of Johannesburg which was dependent on the acquisition of the fire doors which were long lead items,” she told City Press.

READ: Makhura calls for local state of disaster to reopen Charlotte Maxeke Hospital

Asked when the oncology unit would reopen, Gambu said the “anticipated time as per the current programme is July 5”.

This contradicted acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane’s statement last week that the hospital would reopen this week.

Briefing the media on Friday, Kubayi-Ngubane said: “We can confirm now that by next week the oncology side at Charlotte Maxeke will be handed over to start operating, which is phase 1. And once we have a date for phase 2, we will announce it.

Charlotte Maxeke Hospital Picture: Msindisi Fengu

“I think the other issue that was a challenge was around the fire doors that needed to be manufactured and that took longer because without those the certificates would have taken longer to be issued,” she said.

A devastating fire gutted a part of one Gauteng’s leading health facilities on April 16. A full assessment is still underway to determine the cost of the damage.

Outstanding documentation

The occupation certification from the city of Johannesburg was still outstanding, Gambu revealed. This was because the hospital has no building plans.

City Press has seen communication from the hospital management indicating that the outstanding certificate cannot be issued as the hospital does not have a building plan.

“They do not have plans of the hospital. Part of getting a city of Johannesburg certificate is to get a fire certificate. For that you need a fire evacuation plan. And for that you need a plan of the building, which they do not have,” the communication to hospital staff reads.

The anticipated time as per the current programme is July 5
Gauteng infrastructure development department spokesperson Bongiwe Gambu

Engineers using 3D scanners were deployed to the hospital to recreate the building plans.

On Monday, Kubayi-Ngubane told Radion 702 that the plans never existed due to apartheid regulations, which allowed certain key points not to register them with municipalities.

“That is almost done,” she said about the redrawing of the plans.

Sub-speciality care disrupted

The fire at Charlotte Maxeke hospital has temporarily halted selected speciality services, with oncology patients most severely affected.

READ: Subspeciality care disrupted following devastating Charlotte Maxeke Hospital fire

The hospital is ranked highly in Gauteng as it offerers specialised treatment. Patients from other provinces are routinely transferred there for dialysis, heart by-pass surgeries as well as selected cancer treatments.

Cancer treatment has been severely disrupted since the fire gutted part of the hospital.

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