A total 740 operations have been cancelled at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria from January to October this year. These figures are revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
According to Mahlangu, the reasons were as follows:
- Theatre related issues like faulty equipment, no stock of essential consumable items, overbooking, and so on;
- Patients were found to be unfit for the operation on the day, or the patient has eaten, or the patient did not arrive for the operation; and
- The surgeon or anaesthetist is not available due to illness or other reasons.
These cancellations are of great concern. More than two operations are cancelled every day at Steve Biko, a rate that is nearly double that at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital, where 310 operations were cancelled between January and August this year.
The cancellations are bad news for the 1069 patients on waiting lists for operations at the hospital.
Worst affected are 395 patients who will wait up to nine years to fix a cleft palate, and 450 patients who wait two years for a hip or knee replacement.
Such long waiting times entail great suffering and are inhuman.
I hope to see urgent action by hospital management to cut down on the avoidable reasons for surgery being cancelled so often.
Jack Bloom MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health
082 333 4222