Hospitals buckling under pressure due to load shedding

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Healthcare practitioners in hospitals were unable to perform emergency surgeries timeously because of load shedding and this has put the lives of the patients at risk. Photo: Sthembiso Lebuso
Healthcare practitioners in hospitals were unable to perform emergency surgeries timeously because of load shedding and this has put the lives of the patients at risk. Photo: Sthembiso Lebuso

NEWS


The Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) has called for all hospitals, clinics and other health facilities to be exempted from load shedding.

HPCSA spokesperson Christopher Tsatsawane said due to load shedding and power outages, hospitals in the country were buckling under pressure. He said there were about 420 state-run hospitals and more than 3 000 state-run clinics across the country.

"This has created more strain on the already far stretched healthcare system. Load shedding has negatively impacted the provision of quality care in all our health facilities and placed an enormous strain on health practitioners on their daily routine of work,” Tsatsawane said.

READ: Eskom’s catastrophe: Key take-outs as rolling blackouts escalate to Stage 6

He said healthcare practitioners in hospitals were unable to perform emergency surgeries timeously because of load shedding and this has put the lives of the patients at risk.

“These health facilities are also platforms used for the undergraduates’ internships and postgraduate training of health professionals who are also negatively affected by load shedding.

"More than 80% of South Africans are reliant on public healthcare services and the implementation stages of load shedding and the lack of a robust contingency plan has proved to be catastrophic in the healthcare environment, with varied and far-reaching consequences,” Tsatsawane said.

He said power outages placed critically ill patients who were dependent on life-support machines at risk.

Tsatsawane said the performance and life span of medical equipment and devices were negatively affected by power interruptions. On the other hand smaller healthcare facilities, including primary healthcare clinics not equipped with generators, were often left in the dark.

He said: 

We remain confident that a collective effort on this call will undoubtedly lead to the improvement of our healthcare services. The HPCSA will endeavour by care and diligence to guide the healthcare practitioners to protect the public

On Tuesday, Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital (CMJAH)’s head of internal medicine, Professor Adam Mohamed started a petition calling on Gauteng provincial government to assist hospitals in ensuring patient care was not disrupted.

Mohamed said CMJAH was under severe strain as services were tremendously hindered by prolonged power outages.

READ: Prof pens petition calling for hospitals to be exempt from rolling blackouts 

He said there was only so much they could do as doctors dealing with patients because when they couldn't get access to information, they tell the patients to go to the department.

“At the end of the day, our hands are tied, increasing the average length of stay of patients,” he said.


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