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Backlog of nearly 200 000 elective surgeries at public hospitals

Some 175 024 people are still waiting for their operations in public hospitals, with waiting lists of six months for many surgeries, the Department of Health has admitted, saying the number had ballooned over the past two and a half years, mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Western Cape has the longest waiting list, with nearly 78 000 patients, reports TimesLIVE.

In a virtual briefing with Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla, Dr Nonhlanhla Makhanya, the department’s chief nursing officer, presented a progress report on interventions to reduce the elective surgery backlogs.

“There was a moratorium to accommodate the influx of COVI|D-19 patients, which has already hit the increased backlog. The moratorium was, however, lifted in 2021, and a plan to [reduce] backlogs was put in place as well as measures to deal with emergency surgery and electives concurrently,” said Makhanya.

Strategies include hospitals rescheduling non-emergency operations, theatre services being provided over weekends and extended theatre hours.

“Patients are booked six months in advance according to the capacity available and quality of life [and] the waiting list is constantly being reviewed.”

The Western Cape has the highest backlog with 77 139, Limpopo is at 45 690 and KwaZulu-Natal has 17 903. The Free State has the lowest at 2 947, Mpumalanga has 3 005 and the Northern Cape 4 000. Gauteng is on 13 433, North West 5 531 and the Eastern Cape 5 373.


TimesLIVE article – SA hospitals have a backlog of 175,024 elective surgeries (Open access)


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