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Low budgets behind crisis at Khayelitsha District Hospital

Khayelitsha District Hospital has experienced a large number of patients and a shortage of beds. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency

Khayelitsha District Hospital has experienced a large number of patients and a shortage of beds. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency

Published Jan 21, 2022

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CAPE TOWN - Shrinking budgets have been blamed for hampering the delivery of efficient services at Khayelitsha District Hospital (KDH), with this year starting on a zero budget.

This emerged when some ANC provincial leaders visited the hospital on Thursday to engage with the management and conduct an oversight. This follows the Cape Times exposé of the horrific conditions where sick patients, including the elderly, huddled together on the floor, using blankets to keep warm while being strapped to ventilators in the hospital’s asthma room.

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KDH chief executive David Binza said on Thursday: “Khayelitsha constitutes most of the low social-economic factors and that is evident as one comes into Khayelitsha. There is a high unemployment rate, poverty, and the illiteracy level is very high.

“A lot of services in Khayelitsha are lacking. It also has a lot of politics which also end up with some of our positions not being filled. It makes it not so easy for posts to be filled for people to provide services to patients,” Binza said.

Binza said there was a growing demand for the services they offered but the budget was limited.

“We as the management are busy engaging with the substructure and the chief director. We are busy finalising our submission in terms of our staff shortage in order to address those problems,” he said.

ANC spokesperson and member of the provincial legislature (MPL) on health, Rachel Windvogel, said they were going to engage with the portfolio committee and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) to do official oversight of the hospital.

“I see KDH as a world-class hospital but with the challenges it faces at the moment, we cannot call it a world-class hospital. One thing that triggers my nerves is the fact that they are employing agency personnel and they are placing one nurse per 35 patients and obviously our patients’ lives are in danger and so I am not happy, to be honest.

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“Even though the senior management is trying to cope with the circumstances and influx of patients, we think we can do more as a department. I think we need a political will to do more,” Windvogel said.

Meanwhile in the neighbouring Mitchells Plain, Eastridge residents picketed outside the local clinic demanding that the City not close it.

When asked about the issue of closure of local clinics in Mitchells Plain, Health mayco member Patricia Van der Ross, said the provincial government and City were currently considering how best to arrange facilities and resources to deliver a comprehensive healthcare services package in the relevant communities.

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“This process will include community engagement to ensure healthcare services are designed around the actual needs of residents.

“This is in line with a January 2021 City Council resolution that seeks to transfer City health functions to the Western Cape government, which is the constitutional mandate holder for primary healthcare services. The City aims to ensure that the transfer of functions to the WCG is done with the best interests of residents at heart, and in full consultation with residents,” Van der Ross said.

Cape Times

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