Cape Town - A severe staff shortage and resources and an insufficient budget coupled with lack of capacity in step-down facilities are the key reasons for the deplorable conditions at the Khayelitsha District Hospital.
This emerged during an oversight visit to the hospital by the ANC’s MPLs following media reports of patients sleeping and being treated on the floors.
The hospital’s CEO, David Binza, said Khayelitsha’s growing population had resulted in an increased demand for health services at the hospital. He said this while the budget allocated to the hospital was shrinking.
“As of this year, we started with zero budget. The hospital has received the same budget in 2020/21 and 2021/22 financial years and we have already overspent in the last financial year.
“The hospital itself was built in 2012, and 10 years later the population has grown so much while the infrastructure and staffing have barely been improved to cope with the growing demand,” he said.
Binza said the hospital had a 340-bed capacity but operated at 442 beds at times.
He said there was a long waiting time caused by the demand from patients that were meant to be seen in clinics.
“At times we are stuck with patients that are waiting for beds from other hospitals and we are also dependent on step-down facilities. At times this is caused by the community’s doing where we see patients discharged and who are not collected,” he said.
Binza, who admitted to a high staff turnover, said the hospital required R100 million more to remedy the staff shortage.
Khayelitsha Development Forum chairperson Ndithini Thyido said in the past two years Khayelitsha had gained more than 20 new settlements caused by land grabs, which the department disregarded. He said the conditions at the hospital were symptomatic of a failed government.
The ANC spokesperson on health, Rachel Windvogel, said they would engage the heath portfolio committee to conduct an official oversight visit.
“As much as the officials and the senior personnel are doing their level-best to cope with the circumstances and the influx of the patients, I think we can do more as a department and we need a political will to remedy the situation,” she said.