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Cape Town - Health MEC Theuns Botha has promised to visit Khayelitsha Hospital to assess the alleged shortage of beds, and staff attitudes that have left many patients disgruntled.
Responding to a parliamentary question by Cope MPL Mbulelo Ncedana on whether he was aware of the pressure on the hospital’s beds, Botha said: “Yes, I am aware of the overflow situation at Khayelitsha Hospital. The average bed occupancy for the first quarter (April to June) was 139 percent.”
Botha said the overflow of patients at Khayelitsha Hospital was a demonstration of the dire need the hospital was in, and that the increasing number of people in the province was a contributing factor.
“The profile of the burden of disease in this area is also impacting significantly on the hospital’s patient load.
“It is for this reason that this pro-vincial government is shifting the focus towards the increase of wellness, whilst addressing illness. The creation of a healthier society is essential,” Botha said.
He said hospital management was addressing the issue of bed shortages. One of the future plans was to create a separate facility for mental health clients.
Currently these patients used medical wards, putting pressure on existing beds. The commissioning of this ward was expected to be done during 2014/15.
Botha said a dedicated SMS hotline, which was launched in other health facilities in the province, would now also be implemented at Khayelitsha Hospital.
The new 230-bed hospital, serving an estimated population of more than one million residents, was opened more than a year ago to service the area’s community, who are mainly poor and unemployed and live in informal dwellings.
Botha said social circumstances were major contributors to the current burden of disease, including HIV and TB, chronic lifestyle diseases and violence-related injuries.