A disaster is waiting to happen at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital.
In March, nurses and doctors had to pool funds to buy patients bread after a declining food supply at the tertiary hospital.
In June, a fire broke out at the hospital in an open space near tents used for Covid-19 testing but no-one was injured.
While the provincial health department has a budget of R59.4bn for 2022/2023, its infrastructure counterpart was allocated more than R36bn over the next three years to refurbish hospitals including Chris Hani Baragwanath, Leratong and Edenvale hospitals.
Chris Hani Baragwanath is the biggest hospital in the southern hemisphere, with a staff of about 6,000 and around 3,200 beds. The specialist hospital sees about 150,000 inpatients and 500,000 outpatients annually, while 50,000 and 60,000 patients are treated at the hospital’s ophthalmology and maternity departments each year.
DA Gauteng health spokesperson Jack Bloom said the cancellation of medical procedures at the hospital causes great distress to staff and patients.
“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,” he said.
“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 said hospital CEOs should be given more powers to do maintenance, which is currently done by the “dysfunctional Gauteng infrastructure development department”.
He said Chris Hani Baragwanath was a specialist hospital that was burdened with staff shortages.
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