Medical equipment awaits repairs

Hospital equipment worth millions of rands is awaiting repairs at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital's warehouse, the Democratic Alliance said.

"Equipment worth about R5 million sits in a warehouse at the hospital awaiting repairs because medical repair companies have not been paid," said DA Gauteng Health Spokesman Jack Bloom.

"There are hundreds of items, including 24 broken incubators that could be repaired and used in the overcrowded neo-natal ward."

Bloom said a new incubator cost about R40,000, but repairs to these incubators would cost less than R4000 each.

Gauteng health department spokesman Sello Mokoena acknowledged that there were "challenges" with regard to the payment of some suppliers who were rendering services at the hospital.

"However, the allegations in the statement by Jack Bloom are misleading and unfounded. It is not true that there is medical equipment at the hospital that is awaiting repairs due to non-payment of suppliers," Mokoena said.

Prioritise repair of equipment

"All faulty equipment from the wards is assessed by the technicians at the hospital within 24 hours.

"On receipt of the recommendation by the technician that the equipment should be outsourced, the relevant suppliers are immediately contacted to collect the equipment for quotations and repairs."

However, Bloom said there were foetal monitors, ventilators, infusion pumps, ICU cribs used to warm up babies among the equipment waiting for repairs.

"Some of the equipment has been awaiting repair for more than a year. It's a very sad situation as repairs have largely ground to a halt because the Gauteng health department owes medical equipment companies huge amounts of money."

Mokoena said there was "currently no equipment that is lying at the hospital's medical workshop for more than a year".

"The hospital has appointed a supplier to repair the incubators. Faulty incubators are regularly collected from the hospital for repairs," he said.

Mokoena said the department was negotiating with service providers "to resolve this matter amicably".

(Sapa, January 2011)

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