“This means that surgeons have had to cancel more than two operations every week day for largely avoidable reasons,” Gauteng DA health spokesman Jack Bloom said in a statement.
The figure was contained in a written reply by Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu to a question by Bloom in the Gauteng legislature.
Mahlangu said operational reasons for the deferments included: a limited number of beds in the intensive care unit (ICU); difficult cases taking longer than expected; and not enough operating rooms.
Patient-related reasons included: eating before operations; declining to give consent; and being unfit for surgery.
“The high number of deferred operations worsens the waiting list for surgery, which currently stands at 954 patients, some of whom will wait up to 12 months for complicated surgery,” Bloom said.
“I agree with Mahlangu’s proposed solutions to this problem, which include solving the operational issues and down-referral of minor cases to lower level hospitals.”
There was a particular need to increase the number of ICU beds as soon as possible, and working equipment was also important to ensure surgery proceeded smoothly.
“I hope that the management issues are speedily resolved as cancelled operations cause much distress to anxious and suffering patients,” Bloom said.