Durban - Despite the major challenges facing Addington Hospital, its new chief executive, Dr Mthetheleli Ndlangisa, is confident he can turn the problem-plagued institution into a world-class health facility.
He said his long-term plan was to ensure the hospital offered all services under one roof.
In an interview with the Daily News on Monday, Ndlangisa said Addington Hospital was a challenge worth taking on.
He said the problems were not insurmountable.
Ndlangisa was appointed chief executive on August 1, after being seconded from RK Khan Hospital, where he had been a senior manager in medical services.
He was sent to Addington Hospital in December as part of a task team appointed by the KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, to probe management and operational problems at the hospital.
Watching from a distance, Ndlangisa said he had his reservations about the hospital being transformed.
“I saw the hospital as a challenge. But I was also humbled that the department saw me as a person who could work there.”
Ndlangisa said one of the biggest problems at the hospital was the lack of air conditioners in the theatres.
“They were not functioning at all and the only procedures taking place were obstetrics.
“The hospital also had huge backlogs in theatre cases.”
Ndlangisa said the December holiday season last year was one of the toughest periods because of the increase in accidents and the number of patients needing operations.
“We decided to take all our theatre cases to Wentworth, King Dinuzulu (King George V) and St Aidan’s hospitals while attending to the problems here.”
At the time, Ndlangisa said, they had thought this would be a temporary measure lasting three to six months, but it turned out to be much longer.
Ndlangisa said the air-conditioning systems ordered in May had arrived in the country and the installation was more than 80 percent complete. This work would be completed by the end of the month.
The department had been asked to refurbish the theatres at the same time so the hospital would not need to close them again.
The oncology machines, which had not worked from January, were back in operation in April.
“It’s not like nothing was done to help cancer patients during that time. In this province we are blessed with oncology centres at Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg and the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital,” he said.
Ndlangisa said cancer patients had been referred to Albert Luthuli.
The chief executive said he was focused on service delivery and ensuring the best for his patients. “This will eventually become a world-class facility. My long-term plan is to ensure the hospital offers all services under one roof.”
New equipment for the various departments was being obtained.
“I have been doing walk-abouts and talking to staff in the different departments and we are taking all their suggestions into consideration.”
Ndlangisa said he wanted everyone at Addington to work as a team.
“The problems here can be solved. It’s a question of will. Renovations on the outside of the building are in progress and will be completed some time next year.
“It will give the hospital a new look.”
Ndlangisa urged the public to use the clinics and district hospital.
He said many patients flocked to the hospital when they should be going to their area’s clinics and district hospitals.
“Addington is a level two hospital. We see to people who require specialists.
“But we find many people who need to be seen only by a general practitioner coming to the hospital.”
Ndlangisa said he wanted to do things right.
He planned to achieve his goals over the next three years. “The challenges are still here. But we are working towards resolving them.
“We are better off than we started. We will get there. There is progress.”