Patient orders litres of water online as water cuts hit Helen Joseph Hospital

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Patients at Helen Joseph provincial hospital were given one bottle of water over five days. (Supplied)
Patients at Helen Joseph provincial hospital were given one bottle of water over five days. (Supplied)
  • Patients said Helen Joseph supplied them with one bottle of water a day over five days.
  • DA spokesperson on health in Gauteng Jack Bloom described the situation at the hospital as disgusting.
  • An unreliable water supply has plagued many parts of Joburg in recent days.

A desperate patient at Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg ordered 10 litres of water on the internet and had it delivered to his bed on the fourth floor of the provincial hospital as the facility was without water for nearly a week. 

Large parts of Johannesburg had experienced interrupted and unreliable water supply this week as Joburg Water was battling with problems at its Hursthill, Brixton and Crosby systems.  

The patient, who asked not to be named, said he shared the water with three other patients in his ward. 

The receipt showed that the West Rand man ordered the still spring water from Vrededorp Pick n Pay on Thursday at 16:20 for R52.80.  

Patients told News24 how the hospital supplied a 500ml bottle of water a day over five days for brushing teeth, to take tablets and to drink for the entire day. 

Speaking on behalf of a group of patients, one said: "It is very bad. Neither patient nor staff can do a number two. Something needs to be done ASAP, before they have to quarantine the entire Helen Joseph Provincial Hospital for diseases other than Covid-19."

DA spokesperson on health in Gauteng, Jack Bloom, described the situation at the hospital as disgusting, adding that water cuts forced doctors to cancel life saving operations. 

Bloom said: "It has really been extremely disruptive, toilets were smelling, operations were cancelled. They gave patients bathroom water, and this is a hospital; you need hygiene. It is disgusting."

READ| Hospital hell: Deputy public protector finds Eastern Cape facilities in shocking state

The patient said: 

Gauteng and the management of Helen Joseph provincial hospital don't care. The patients and the staff cannot go to toilet, it is disgusting. There is Covid-19 and one has to wash hands, but no one can do that. There is a little water coming out of the taps, but not enough pressure to flush the toilet.

According to Bloom, the water was restored on Saturday afternoon, but he feared that it could be cut off again.

"It could go off again tomorrow. People have been enduring this unreliable service for days. All over Johannesburg, the northwest side [and the northeast] of Johannesburg have not got water for days. Joburg Water is providing a poor service," warned Bloom.

In a statement, Joburg Water said the water cuts were caused by a below average inflow of water into the systems.

"Thus, the reservoirs and towers are currently sitting at very low levels. Rand Water, our bulk water supplier is currently investigating the matter. We are aware that areas supplied from these systems are without water."

News24 made several attempts to get a comment from the Gauteng health department which manages the hospital.

Their comment will be added once received. 

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