2436 patients are on the waiting lists for surgery at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital (CMJH).
This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
She says that long waiting lists are caused by the following:
- Prioritization of emergency cases
• Availability of ICU beds.
• Theatre capacity e.g. Vascular Surgery only has access to Endovascular Unit on Tuesday
• Sometimes due to high load of acute trauma and non-trauma, elective lists have to be suspended to do the emergency list
• Donor shortage for transplant
Ramokgopa claims that the waiting times for the majority of surgical procedures, including cardiac surgery and operations to remove cancer, have been significantly reduced.
But the number of patients on surgery waiting lists is virtually the same as the 2448 recorded two years
There is also an excessive number of operations cancelled – 1621 were cancelled last year due mostly to time constraints arising from overbooking or under-estimation of the complexity of some procedures.
Ramokgopa says that less complex cases are being referred to the Edenvale, Bertha Gxowa, Tambo Memorial and South Rand hospitals, and satellite centers are also being developed in these hospitals as well as at the Far East Rand, Leratong and Pholosong hospitals.
I agree with this decentralization, but better management and extra resources are still needed to bring down the unacceptably long surgery lists at CMJH.
I fear that the Department’s budget crisis and the freezing of posts is likely to worsen the surgery waiting times for patients at this major hospital.