No beds for new admissions, oncology patients who are moved at risk of infection and are receiving suboptimal care, and patient overflows sent out to overburdened neighbouring facilities. This is how Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital in Johannesburg — a dedicated COVID facility — is still limping along after a fire in April closed most of it, reports TimesLive.
“We are running like headless chickens. Nothing is getting fixed properly and the only successes have been when Solidarity or Gift of the Givers have come in and taken over,” said a doctor who has worked at the hospital since 1997. “The government should be embarrassed that an NGO had to come and dig a borehole to supply a public hospital with water,” he added. “The place is falling apart around us.”
TimeLIVE reports the Gauteng infrastructure and development department as saying the hospital will open blocks one to five, block by block, starting in May next year and ending in June 2024. The hospital, the second largest tertiary hospital in the southern hemisphere, has been hit by fire, flooding, water outages and a litany of other problems this year alone.
An unnamed doctor said while more than R944m had been budgeted for the work, “expenditure to date is R4,072,399.51”. The doctor, who asked not to be identified, said he believed the Health Department was failing to pay for work done, and anything done so far had been only with the help of outside organisations and funders.
“They are just plugging holes and fixing with plaster, while the place falls apart and morale is so low we are starting to speak out, because the worst that can happen is we will be fired. Patients are silent because they are sick, scared and desperate for just a Panado,” he said.
“Two weeks ago a water pipe burst and flooded the surgical block. That got fixed and then on Monday that same pipe burst, flooding the medical wards and damaging all the electrics. We had to move the patients out to obstetrics and gynaecology, leaving adults in the paediatric ward. On Tuesday there was flooding again and we were told we could only move patients back on Wednesday. But we have learnt to wait rather than trust and at 8am on Thursday, just as we were ready to move back, things were still wet and electricity still tripping.
“Now the nuclear medicine department, which has machines worth R50m to R100m, is at risk of water damage,” the doctor told TimesLIVE.
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