Waiting times for KZN cancer patients are ‘criminal’ – DA

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Imran Keeka, Democratic Alliance KZN spokesperson on health writes in a report on the Politicsweb site: “The DA has been informed via a professional source within Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital that, as of yesterday, bookings for the assessment and treatment of patients with gastro-intestinal tract related cancer can only be made in March next year.

“This spells disaster for patients who have recently had surgery for these cancers as well as for those with metastatic or spreading cancer. It also means that any person diagnosed by surgeons today, will only get an appointment to see an oncologist, if they are lucky, in about four to five months. At that point they will still require further assessments before treatment.

“Meanwhile, patients that are in hospital for palliative therapy will, in all probability, not live to see an oncologist while those who will require neoadjuvant – the administration of therapeutic agents before a main treatment – may become ineligible for curative treatment by the time they are scheduled to start treatment.

“The DA regards the situation at this hospital as possibly criminal. Meanwhile, it appears that acting premier Sihle Zikalala is either in denial or misinformed about the province’s oncology crisis. This after he denied any problems at the facility during a recent sitting of the KZN Legislature.

“It is now more than five months since the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) put the department on terms yet there has been little progress and no timelines given to the province’s health portfolio committee in terms of intervention by either the premier or KZN Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo. The DA welcomes a commitment by the acting premier to ensuring that this information is forthcoming.

“It is clear that the SAHRC’s directive is being ignored and the DA will be writing to SAHRC chair Advocate Bongani Majola in this regard. We will also request an urgent appointment in order to discuss when we can expect to see more substantive action from their side. We also note MEC Dhlomo’s visit to the commission last week and appeal to Majola not to entertain his stories while people continue to die in KZN.

“It is now critical that the SAHRC use strong coercive means in order to effect change and bring an end to KZN’s ongoing oncology crisis which has already led to the suffering and deaths of hundreds of cancer patients.

“MEC Dhlomo and acting premier Zikalala’s preaching is not going to save lives. The MEC must be fired.”

Report on Politicsweb site

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