DA calls on Gauteng health dept to address surgery backlogs in hospitals

Entrance to Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria. Picture: ANA

According to the party, the Covid-19 outbreak led to many surgeries being postponed.

The department of health has strengthened Gauteng hospital cluster collaborations and bed management under Covid-19, according to acting health MEC Jacob Mamabolo.

“This strengthening of working relations among hospitals is something that can lead to better patient experience,” he said.

The cluster approach has assisted in the sharing of skills, expertise and most importantly the establishment of a bed management hub. This has also aided in improving appropriate admission of patients according to their level of care.

Gauteng shadow health MEC Jack Bloom said: “Data on the number of usable general wards and ICU beds between 2010 and 2020 shows that there was a general improvement in this area.

“Following this announcement, the DA proposed that the department cluster collaborations to be used to address surgery backlog in the province.

“The department can take this opportunity to address backlogs in surgeries of people who have been waiting for years in a line.

“It is a well-integrated service approach which they have used.”

According to Bloom, the Covid-19 outbreak led to many surgeries postponed.

“Each academic hospital has its special experts. With a good working relationship between the hospitals, this could see many getting their operations done quickly and won’t have to wait for years.”

In March, the department announced it cancelled elective surgeries amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

According to the department, the Steve Biko Hospital cancelled 170 non-emergency operations since the Covid-19 lockdown began in March this year.

“This has resulted in much suffering for patients who may have waited years for their surgery,” said Bloom.

According to the department, the hospital resumed with semi-elective cases from 15 June.

According to a research by CovidSurg Collaborative earlier this year, it was estimated that more than 146,000 surgeries, including 12,000 cancer procedures, would be cancelled in South Africa due to Covid-19, possibly leading to unnecessary deaths.

The clusters are led by the four academic hospitals in the province.

They are Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital, Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital and Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital.

This article first appeared on Rekord and was republished with permission.

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