by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC
The South Rand Hospital in South Johannesburg has 68 vacancies (12%) out of 578 total staff, and little has been done to renovate and fix crumbling facilities.
This was my major observation when I visited the hospital yesterday with my colleague Dr Neil Campbell MPL and local DA councillors Michael Crichton and Faeeza Chame as part of the DA’s #HospitalHealthCheck campaign.
Despite many promises to expand the crowded pharmacy and outpatients area it was as overcrowded as ever.
Two patients attending the diabetics clinic had brought their own fold-up chairs because there is a shortage of seating.
The benchmark waiting time for medicines is supposed to be 40 minutes, but most patients said they wait two hours and sometimes much longer.
Some patients said that they had arrived early in the morning and were still at the hospital at 2pm.
A notice on the pharmacy wall said “Please be patient as we are short staffed”. See photo here.
Waiting times are increased because paper files are still used even though it was promised three years ago that all files would be replaced by electronic files.
The Gauteng Health Department has frozen new staff appointments subject to a detailed motivation. This has affected the hospital badly as we were told that the hospital will be pushing to fill all 68 vacant posts, but the Department has said that only 50% of posts will be approved.
The maternity department is under particular pressure, with more than 3000 births a year, 38% of which are to foreign mothers.
On the positive side, the hospital was spotlessly clean.
Unfortunately, little has been done to fix more than 4000 identified building faults at the hospital.
This is due to lack of funding and the inefficiency of the Department of Infrastructure Development.
For instance, there are two toilets with broken seats that have not been fixed after many weeks. See photo here.
It has been determined that roof leaks and wall cracks, as well as part of the ventilation system, contravene the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
I am disappointed that promises made to improve this hospital have not been kept, causing much distress to staff and patients.
The DA will, at the end of its #HospitalHealthCheck campaign announce the steps that it will take to improve the state of public healthcare facilities across the country.