The radiation oncology department at the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital (CMAH) will soon be reopened, Gauteng department of health acting director-general Thabo Masebe says.
The oncology department closed on 16 April after a fire significantly damaged parts of the hospital building.
The next day, the Gauteng government decided to temporarily close the hospital.
Steve Biko Hospital in Tshwane is the only other hospital that provides radiation treatment, but it is stretched thin.
Staff from the CMAH were relocated to Steve Biko Hospital to give assistance.
Calls for the Gauteng health department to expand capacity by organising cancer radiation treatment in the evenings and over weekends, as well as by paying private hospitals to treat public patients for cancer, have since been growing.
Maseba said delays in reopening the hospital were a result of having to comply with national building regulations as and the city bylaws.
He said that the oncology department would be fully functional again once the city of Johannesburg had given its approval after work is completed in the next few days.
“A portion of the hospital, especially the building that serves oncology services, will now be able to reopen. We are doing work which will be completed in the next few days,” Maseba said.
“Our plan is that once all that work is completed and the necessary approvals are received from the city of Johannesburg we will reopen the oncology building.”
Cancer patients ‘not forgotten’
A doctor who worked at the CMAH oncology unit and has since been moved to both Chris Hani Baragwanath and Steve Biko hospitals, told The Citizen on Tuesday that cancer patients had not been forgotten.
“We want to assure cancer patients they haven’t been abandoned. We tried really hard to reach our patients.”
While at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, the doctor said the hospital had a heavy load to bear with CMAH being closed.
However, in a bid to reach as many patients as possible, she said cancer patients were being treated at Chris Hani Bardgwanath Hospital on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
Others can receive treatment at Steve Biko Academic Hospital.
“As an oncology team, we have been doing our best.”