Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital has 861 urology patients on the waiting list

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Cable theft, electricity and water disruptions are some of the challenges that have led to a disparagingly long urology waiting list at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto. Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images
Cable theft, electricity and water disruptions are some of the challenges that have led to a disparagingly long urology waiting list at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto. Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

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Cable theft, electricity and water disruptions are some of the challenges that have led to a disparagingly long urology waiting list at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto.

A staggering 861 urology patients are on the list, some for as long as three years.

This was revealed by the Gauteng Health MEC, Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi, in a written reply to the DA’s questions in the provincial legislature.

Mokgethi said 10 patients would wait between two and six weeks for surgery for testicular cancer, kidney or bladder. Still, the worst wait was for 250 patients with benign prostate cancer and 120 patients with urethral stricture (narrowing) who would wait between two and three years.

Some of the waiting times include six months for 60 malignant prostate cancer patients, two years for 171 adult patients with undescended testes, one to two years for 150 patients with hydrocele (swelling in the testicle) and six to 12 months for 100 patients with incontinence.

Mokgethi said there were many factors at play, which had resulted in the long waiting list and waiting times for surgical procedures.

She added:

Some of the major ones relate to many referrals from the surrounding clinics. Un-booked and walk-ins are common. To avoid conflict with un-booked patients, they are triaged in the outpatients’ department and rebooked if needed. Many primary-level conditions are referred to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. Also, several inter-hospital transfers are sent to the hospital without referral before arrival.

“If urology services were available at Leratong, Randfontein, South Rand hospitals and some other referring hospitals, numbers would decrease. A new consultant at Sebokeng has resulted in almost no referrals from there currently, and it is a success story.” 

READ: Green light for medical procedures at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital

The number of in-theatre procedures has dropped, as one of the two urology theatres is currently dedicated to the treatment of Covid-19 positive patients.

The DA’s Gauteng shadow MEC for health, Jack Bloom, said these were very long times to wait for the treatment of painful conditions. He pointed out that lives were at risk.

“This very busy urology department sees over 200 patients a day and needs two more nurses to provide proper services to them.

It would help if extra capacity was built up at other hospitals to treat urology patients at an earlier stage and only refer the severe cases to the hospital.

“Reliable electricity supply and clean linen would also cut down on the serious problem of cancelled operations,” he said.


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