'This hospital is shut down' - Charlotte Maxeke hospital closes for a week after fire

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Fire at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital
Fire at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital
  • Health services at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital have been suspended temporarily.
  • Makhura said the hospital had to work on replacing medical supplies and equipment destroyed in the blaze.
  • Gauteng residents have been advised against visiting the hospital during the shutdown.

Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital is closed for seven days after a fire ripped through parts of the facility on Friday night.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura made the announcement on Saturday after visiting the facility to assess the damage.

Firefighters battled the blaze throughout the night on Friday and into Saturday morning, and hundreds of patients were moved to other hospitals.

The premier and senior provincial government officials met the hospital's management and emergency services officials on Saturday. 

"As a result of an assessment by the CEO and head of clinical services, we unfortunately have to announce that we have to temporarily shut down Charlotte Maxeke for seven days. There was no loss of life as a result of the fire but we must take precautionary measures because the smoke coming out is headed to different wards."

Makhura told reporters that the temporary suspension of operations was not taken lightly and that it was made to ensure the safety of patients and healthcare workers.

"At least 400 patients have been transferred to other hospitals. Firefighters were still pumping water into a section of a building, trying to contain what was left of the blaze."

An additional 270 patients must still be moved.

Makhura added that one of the parking floors collapsed into the storeroom below it.

"Management will quantify the extent of the damage. The firefighters say the heat around the building is caused by materials that has been burned, mostly plastic materials...some of them were highly priced medical consumables stored in here."

"The fire is not in the wards. We advise people not to come here as of now as services are suspended. This hospital is shut down. The best thing is that they go to other hospitals for care."

He said that a call centre had been set up to deal with queries from the families of patients .

DA spokesperson on health Jack Bloom blamed the fire on poor maintenance.

"Speedy investigation into the cause of the fire is needed, but it raises questions about the adequacy of occupational safety measures at this hospital, which has a history of poor maintenance. The situation at the hospital is still uncertain now, but I hope that it is brought under control as soon as possible so that patient care can function normally," Bloom said in a statement.

The cause of the fire is unknown but an investigation will commence once the fire has been completely extinguished.

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