870 operations cancelled at Baragwanath Hospital - Gauteng Health MEC

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Nomathemba Mokgethi.
Nomathemba Mokgethi.
Sharon Seretlo, Gallo Images
  • 870 operations were cancelled at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital this year. 
  • Cancellations were due to load shedding, shortage of linen and stolen cables, says Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi. 
  • The health department says they are working on reducing the rate of cancellations. 

Nearly 900 operations have been cancelled at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital this year alone. 

Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi, in written replies, told the Gauteng legislature that her department was working on reducing cancellations.  

Reasons for cancellations included patients not being fit for surgery on the scheduled day; infrastructure challenges like load shedding or stolen cables and no clean linen because of boilers or laundry machines not working, Mokgethi said.   

She said 870 operations had been cancelled in total, but that the department was working on fixing the problem. 

Mokgethi said the department would buy a new boiler for about R20 million to reduce linen shortages.

She said they were also looking into appointing a clinical manager who would oversee 46 theatres at the hospital. 

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"To ensure timely medical procedures... a contractor has been appointed to repair and maintain the autoclaves at all theatres, and two additional gas sterilisers have already been ordered. 

"The facility has also purchased disposable linen to compensate for the shortfalls. In incidents where washers are not operational, the facility outsources laundry services privately," Mokgethi said.  

DA spokesperson on health in Gauteng, Jack Bloom, said the cancellation of operations caused patients and staff distress. 

"Surgeons are hugely frustrated when an operation cannot proceed because of a linen shortage or another avoidable reason. Some patients have waited years for operations, only to be disappointed at the last moment when their surgery is cancelled."

Bloom said to cut down on long turnaround time in the maintenance of infrastructure; hospital CEOs should be given more powers instead of relying on the Gauteng Infrastructure Development Department.

"More use should be made of private laundries as the state-run laundries are notoriously unreliable and are not cost-effective. Every effort should be made to avoid the cancellation of operations as the surgery backlogs are alarmingly high and patients suffer from long waits," Bloom added. 

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