Addington Hospital. Picture: Independent Media
Addington Hospital. Picture: Independent Media

Man given urologist appointment in June 2021

By ZAINUL DAWOOD Time of article published Jul 18, 2017

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Durban - The critical shortage of urologists and out-of-order equipment to examine patients at state hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal has been brought to the fore after a Durban pensioner was given an appointment to see a doctor in 2021.

The pensioner, 61, who did not want to be named, has a problem with his prostate.

He was given an appointment with a urologist in June 2021 after his visit to Addington Hospital recently.

The pensioner has been going for regular checks and was surprised to see the year 2021 written on his file.

“When I enquired from the general practitioner and his assistant, they confirmed the date. I was told the urologist was fully booked.

“The urologist came to the hospital thrice a month only, on a Monday.

“If I had the finances, I would have got medical aid cover. It is the poor who suffer. How would I know if I have cancer in the interim? It’s a silent death for me. I have been checked by the doctor on duty and given antibiotics,” said the father of two.

The provincial Health Department has denied claims of a shortage of urologists. It also could not comment on the pensioner’s claims because it required his details.

Dr Imran Keeka, the DA provincial Health spokesperson, said there was only one urologist in eThekwini who served the entire south of the province.

He said there was only one at Grey’s Hospital to serve the north of KZN. Other urologists had resigned over time, said Keeka.

“Basic equipment required by urologists such as a cystoscope, a camera used to look inside the bladder for diseases such as cancer and also used for certain procedures such as treating kidney stones, is frequently broken,” Keeka said.

He said Madadeni Hospital in Newcastle had a functional unit, with one senior doctor to do most of the work, but he was not a specialist.

“Patients who have complained to us have cited similar waiting periods, where appointments are given years from today,” Keeka said.

The issue was raised in the KZN legislature, during the department’s Budget speech in April, to highlight the dire shortages of specialists.

“The impact of not having urologists means that patients with cancers of the urinary tract which includes the kidneys, the bladder, the external genitalia and the prostate in males, in certain circumstances have to be attended to by doctors not specialised in this field. This increases the risk to the department for medico-legal costs,” he said.

Sam Mkhwanazi, the provincial health spokesperson, said there were six urologists in KZN - two each at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central and Ngwelezane hospitals, and one each at Grey’s and St Aidans hospitals.

“The department does provide designated planned patient transport to all patients that have to be taken from their mother hospitals to tertiary health-care institutions, as per need and referral,” Mkhwanazi said.

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